Vail locals reflect on bin Laden’s death | VailDaily.com

Vail locals reflect on bin Laden’s death

Lauren Glendenning
lglendenning@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – As news broke that U.S. special forces had killed America’s No. 1 enemy, Osama bin Laden, Americans everywhere began to develop their own opinions and emotions over the significance of the event.

In Vail, people seem to share the same excitement over the death of bin Laden as those who gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House and in New York City’s Times Square on Sunday night, and some question what bin Laden’s death means for the future.

“It’s a good thing,” said Cliff Edwards, of Eagle-Vail. “I just think it gives some people some closure. I think it’s good for America in general to be able to accomplish something that I think we started to doubt would be accomplished.”

But as locals take in the news of what happened Sunday, some are questioning what it was that we accomplished.

Taylor Eubank, of Vail, said that while he felt a little bit of patriotism come over him when he first heard the news, he has to think about the bigger picture.

“He was more of just an icon, he wasn’t calling any of the shots, so how important is it really?” Eubank said. “Are we going to pull out of Afghanistan? No. Our military knows that, anyone knows that – (bin Laden wasn’t) what it was all about.”

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Sev Behrer, of Vail, said bin Laden has been a “nonessential figurehead” for the last eight or nine years because he’s been in hiding all this time.

“I’m guessing there are other figureheads actually doing more,” Behrer said of al-Qaida’s leadership.

Even though the future is uncertain in terms of what bin Laden’s assassination means for America and the world, some are already measuring what it has done in just 24 short hours.

“It’s wonderful for all of those families. They’re able to put this behind them,” said Tori Graskamp, of Edwards.

Graskamp’s son goes to college in New Orleans and told her the campus erupted in celebration on Sunday night.

“They all piled outside and started singing,” Graskamp said. “That kind of neat to see people involved, happy and patriotic.”

Lauren Wallace, of Vail, said she’s happy to see that bin Laden’s death seems to have brought some relief to the victims, but the heightened terrorism threats concern her.

“Some people seem like they’ve received justice now and they can put it to rest, but at the end of the day we’re still at war and wasting tons of money,” Wallace said.

For firefighters who never forget how many of their own were lost on Sept. 11, 2001, the news of bin Laden’s death is personal.

Vail Fire Chief Mark Miller was at home Sunday night when he heard the news. He said it was one of those things where you hear it and you can’t quite believe what you just heard.

“It took me back a little bit,” Miller said.

Miller thought about what it meant and it started to hit home.

“What hit me is that 9/11 changed the world, but it changed the fire service big time. Everything we do and how we do it, terrorist threats and how we train – it just changed everything,” Miller said. “So I just started reflecting on that. The fact that now he’s dead, it obviously doesn’t mean the end of terrorism, but the 343 firefighters that were killed at the World Trade Center, I thought about what this must mean to their families.”

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.