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Bin Laden Bookends

When I heard that Bin Laden had been killed, I found myself mentally photographing my surroundings. It seemed like such a big event that I had to remember where I was when I heard the news.

I was in a movie theater in Managua – not a typical thing to do on a Sunday night, but Monday was a holiday. The movie just ended and we looked around to find our friends who sat a few rows up. They motioned for us to come and then broke the news they had just read on their blackberries, “Bin Laden is dead. They killed him.” My mouth fell open as the weight of the news settled in. Finally.

We all were too wound up to just go home after the movie so we watched the news (CNN Español) at a bar outside the theater. Inevitably, the conversation turned to September 11. Each of us shared stories of where we were when we found out about the attacks on the Twin Towers. In 2001, most of us were still in college. We could all remember with precision what class we were in (Econ, History, Spanish) or who told us. It was our generation’s Kennedy Assassination. Where were you when you heard.

The killing of Bin Laden feels like the other bookend to the September 11 attacks. I know it’s not that simple, and we are a long way from resolving the difficult legacy that the last 10 years has left us. Others say Bin Laden wasn’t more than a figurehead and that his death won’t change much. But for someone who has been the #1 Global Villain for a full third of my life, his death is a big deal. And I’m going to remember where I was when I heard the news.

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