“Mom, What Does ‘We Got Him’ Mean?”

Like you, I imagine I will always remember where we were Sunday, May 1, 2011 when we heard the news that Osama Bin Laden was dead. My family was in our minivan, driving home from Chicago. We’d normally not be on the road so late, but it was a fun family party, and we had to drop of my father-in-law and we had to make multiple bathroom stops and…well, you get the drift. We didn’t leave the city limits until after 9pm.

We’d turned off the radio and the children were asleep. I had fallen asleep briefly, and when I woke up, I compulsively checked Twitter. And that’s when I saw the tweets. We turned on the radio, and were filled in on the details.

It seemed almost surreal. I remember September 11, 2001 vividly, and I can’t believe it’s been a decade.

The war on terror has been going on for my entire marriage.

Tonight we got home later than usual, and when MaM turned on the TV, PBS Kids was already over. Instead of seeing her favorite characters, the screen showed a haggard picture of Bin Laden and the headline “We Got Him”.

She can read, so of course she asked, “Mom, what does ‘We Got Him’ mean?”

The war on terror has been going on her entire life.

And so I told her. I asked if she’d seen pictures of the day when the airplanes hit the buildings in New York City, and she said yes.

I told her that for a really long time, since before she was born, the United States has been looking for the man who ordered that to happen. That former President Bush said that we would not stop until we got him.

“Mom, did he go to jail?”

I told her the truth. I told her that when the soldiers came to get him, he fought back. And in the fight he was killed.

“So the bad guy is dead? Did the good guys duck his bullets?”

I told her that no good guys were hurt during the raid.

She said, “I’m glad the good guys are ok.”
And then she went about her day.

This will probably be just a blip on her radar. There will be many bad guys in the future, I’m sure, just like there have been many bad guy in my lifetime.

What I’m focusing on tonight with my children is that “The good guys are OK.”