Quiet satisfaction permeated the reaction of local veterans to the news early this week that Navy Seals had killed Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.
“It’s about time,” said Cornelius “Neil” W. Andres of West Barnstable, president of the Osterville Veterans Club, as he sat in the club’s bar, The Foxhole, on Main Street in Osterville.
“That’s exactly what I would have done—you take him out,” said Richard W. Grigerick of Osterville, a Vietnam War veteran who served in the Army, referring to the shots that killed bin Laden.
Bombing the compound where the Seals found the terrorist leader, he said, could have been perceived as an attack on Pakistan.
To Mr. Grigerick, bin Laden “was just another Hitler.”
“I am satisfied justice was done,” said Sidney “Larry” Chase of Centerville, the longtime veterans agent for the town of Barnstable who retired last year.
“I am not one that death makes me happy,” Mr. Chase, a Vietnam veteran, said Wednesday. “But to perpetrate a plan to kill 3,300 or however many on 9/11—something had to be done. I’m happy justice was reached.”
Mr. Chase’s successor as veterans agent, Edward Merrigan, said: “I think like all Americans, I am very pleased that justice has been done."
He added: “I’m certainly very proud of the job the fellows have done in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think that’s gone a long way to making his role less important over the years.”
This past week, Mr. Merrigan said, comments about the death of bin Laden were not the first words out of the mouths of veterans who came in to see him at his Hyannis office.
“They were focusing on other issues as they came into the office,” he said.
Mr. Andres, 50, an Army veteran, said he still was struck by the sheer magnitude of bin Laden’s terrorism: destroying the World Trade Center in New York, hitting the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and “damn near hitting the White House,” the last foiled by the heroic passengers on Flight 93.
Even though retribution took nearly a decade, Mr. Chase said, bin Laden’s death at the hands of the Navy Seals shows “you cannot do this without paying a sacrifice, without thinking twice about the consequences.”