An Anniversary Has Arrived....
The Fifth Anniversary.

On May 2, 2011, Operation Neptune Spear began its mission around 1:00am local time in Abbottabad, Pakistan.  The Navy SEALS landed at the compound where Osama bin Laden was hiding.  Within three-quarters of an hour, the SEALS had killed bin Laden, along with four adult males and a woman who was used as a human shield by one of men who was killed.  Therefore, today is the fifth anniversary of the elimination of a much hated terrorist who planned the attacks on 9/11.  In a couple of months, it will be the fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attack. 


Osama bin Laden

Five years ago, the Navy SEALS carried out Operation Geronimo, which was the code name for the capturing or killing of bin Laden.  The compound had 18 foot walls around the perimeter of the safe house for bin Laden in which there was a three-story structure. 


Osama bin Laden's compound


An aerial view

After many months of surveillance, it was determined that bin Laden was living within the compound.  When the Navy SEALS entered the compound, there was a firefight between the SEALS and those inside the compound.  The shooting lasted much of the time since the SEALS entered the compound.  The SEALS had to make their way up to the second and third floors where bin Laden and his family lived.  Therefore, bin Laden was killed toward or at the very end of the attack.  He was buried at sea according to Muslim tradition having been transferred to the USS Carl Vinson located in the Arabian Sea.

While the SEALS were within the compound, they seized a great deal of material, computers, and classified documents.  During the time of the attack, the president and his team watched real-time the attack of the Navy SEALS.


The White House watches

It wasn't long before President Obama addressed the American people.

This was the new most wanted bulletin.


Osama bin Laden marked deceased on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List on May 3 2011

In conclusion, what difference do either of the two anniversaries have for us today?  It was five years ago, today, May 2, 2011, when the Navy SEALS eliminated bin Laden.  The world isn't any safer.  In addition, the 15th anniversary of 9/11 will soon be here.  As we look back upon both anniversaries, we remember the devastating feeling of shock on 9/11, and we remember the relief when bin Laden was gone from our midst. 

However, times have changed radically since either event has occurred.  The haunting question is whether or not the world is more peaceful.  The obvious answer is that we are not yet any safer.  However, let us put 9/11 and the elimination of bin Laden into historical perspective.  Imagine what Americans felt fifteen years after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.  It too was a devastating feeling of shock and bewilderment on December 7th.  As emotionally shattering as Pearl Harbor was, in the mid-50s, America's fears had been refocused.  We were concerned about the USSR, not the defeated Japanese.

It seems to me that we are in an identical situation with 9/11 and the vanquishing of bin Laden.  America has refocused its fears toward ISIS.  In both situations, Pearl Harbor and bin Laden have been dwarfed by a very clear and present threat presented by ISIS.  What can we learn from history with the Japanese, bin Laden, and the USSR?

Either we grasped something positive or else we will be mired in fear of the future.  As George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  Having been born during WWII, gone through the cold war with the Soviets, and bin Laden, I think there are several critical learnings.

We need to make this world a better place for us to live.  We need to address problematic issues in the world today before people like Tojo, Hitler, Khrushchev, bin Laden, and al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS emerge. 

Aside from eliminating the causes that create the crazies of the world, we need to learn the lesson that Teddy Roosevelt spoke about in the Man in the Arena. 

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Daring greatly can be our modus operandi, or we can be timid souls quaking in the corner.  Choose wisely. 

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