Celebration, remembrance, caution

May 2, 2011

Celebration and commemoration are still evident; officials are cautioning Americans after the death of Osama bin Laden by the U.S. military in Pakistan:

‘They got him’

At the Pentagon Sept. 11 memorial, Andrea Doctor carried a white flower and a message for her husband.

“I came out to say, ‘Hey, they got him,’” Doctor said after placing the flower near his memorial bench.

Her husband, Johnnie “Doc” Doctor, a Navy information systems technician, had just started classes to become a state trooper when a plane slammed into the Pentagon in 2001. He was 32 and “so excited about his future,” Andrea Doctor said at the time of his death.

News of Bin Laden’s death brought back all the memories of that terrible day, Doctor said, but also some measure of relief that the man who masterminded the attack was gone.

“Osama Bin Laden’s family will feel the pain we’ve been feeling for the last 10 years,” Doctor said.

— Justin Jouvenal

Remembering Sept. 11, 2001

For John Chapa, news of Bin Laden’s death dredged up fresh memories of his mother’s death on Sept. 11, 2001, but offered little balm for his wounds. Rosa Maria Chapa was a senior manager at the Defense Intelligence Agency at the time of the Pentagon attack.

Chapa sat on the bench at the Pentagon memorial and offered a prayer for her. Bin Laden’s killing gave him “some closure,” he said, but did nothing to fill the hole in his family.

“My mother can’t be with her grandchildren. There will always be that empty seat at dinner,” Chapa said.

When Stuart Showalter heard the news of Bin Laden’s death this morning, he had one thought: He must visit the Pentagon’s Sept. 11 memorial. The Olney resident drove 45 minutes to the Pentagon and hopped out of his car with a small American flag and a camera around his neck.

“I’m looking at all the names that have died on that day and seeing the the U.S. has avenged them in some way,” Showalter said. “We’ve fought the [war on terrorism] clumsily. We’ve fought it poorly, but this is one thing we’ve done right.”

He added: “Today, I’m a flag-waver.”

— Justin Jouvenal

Soldier: This will prevent others

Senior Master Sgt. David Maupin, who has served 18 years in the Army, has spent the better part of his time in the Middle East.

Dressed in full military camouflage, Maupin was at BWI Airport Monday. He heads to Virginia, then is deployed to Kuwait.

Maupin was almost at a lost for words over what he called the “long overdue” killing of Bin Laden.

“But it takes time to do what we need to do,” said Maupin, who was at home when he heard the announcement Sunday night.

He said the troops’ work is not done. “It’s going to go on forever,” he said. “But at least this may slow it down, and prevent others from thinking about doing what happened on Sept 11th.”

— Ovetta Wiggins

Amtrak, MTA, VRE heighten security

Amtrak has raised its state of alert by ensuring it is fully staffed with police teams that use bomb-sniffing dogs and other security specialists, said Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm.

“Our commanders are in close communication with our federal partners in the intelligence community as well as local law enforcement agencies in the areas we travel through,” Kulm said. “In addition, we are ensuring full staffing of our K9 teams including our specially trained vapor wake teams at our major hubs.”

Maryland Transit Administration has increased its watchfulness as a result of the killing of Osama Bin Laden, said MTA spokesman John Milton Wesley.

“There will be vigilance on the part of all of our officers in light of what took place overnight,” Wesley said. “There may be some visible signs of changes and others not as visible. For example, there might be more uniformed patrols and more undercover patrols,” he said.

Virginia Railway Express spokesman Mark Roeber said TSA has agreed to be more vigilant in their platform checks. The 130 undercover officers that ride VRE trains daily have also been asked to be more cognizant of what is going on around them on the trains.

VRE officials have contacted all the local jurisdictions that partner with the commuter rail service and they have agreed to have local law enforcement officials increase their patrols of the platforms and parking garages.

“We believe the diligence that we’ve displayed and continue to display acts as a deterrent and we are confident that with the assistance from our partners, VRE will remain a safe haven for commuting,” Roeber said.

— Ann Scott Tyson, Jennifer Buske

BWI takes security precautions

The Baltimore Washington International Airport has taken increased security measures in light of the killing of Osama Bin Laden, airport officials said.

“BWI remains vigilant as always,” said Jonathan O. Dean, spokesman for the airport. “There is a general heightened awareness for security in airports across the country.”

As travelers formed in long lines to go through security screenings, a Maryland Transportation Authority officer whizzed by on a Segway.

Outside the Southwest terminal, the airport’s busiest carrier, two police cars were parked and three officers stood and later canvassed the area.

Dean said there is no indication of any event at BWI. The airport has also increased security that is not visible, Dean said.

Dean said travelers should be reminded to be alert and report any suspicious activity.

— Ovetta Wiggins

Capitol police musters show of force

Capitol police cars flashed their lights and officers with automatic weapons patrolled in force Monday as a visual warning to anyone seeking to retaliate for Osama bin Laden’s death.

Senate Sgt. At Arms Terrance Gainer said Congress’ police force is on the lookout for any threat on the Capitol campus as lawmakers returned from a two-week Easter recess.

Ten police vehicles, lights flashing and trunks opened, gathered at the base of Capitol Hill early Monday where Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues meet. Officers with automatic rifles were examining every vehicle that approached.

— Associated Press

Metro security not evident

While Metro promised an increase in uniformed officers throughout the transit system, it wasn’t readily evident during Bryce Goodwin’s commute on Monday morning. He didn’t see any added police presence during his trip from Crystal City to McPherson Square. But he wasn’t that worried while heading to work at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“With an event like this, maybe there is the threat of reprisal. But an event like this made me more optimistic,” said Goodwin, 29, who is also a graduate student studying public policy at George Washington University. “Whether that’s naive or not, I wasn’t more afraid” to travel, he said.

— Mark Berman

10:17 a.m. Va. governor: ‘Great and historic moment’

In Richmond, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) said “this is a great and historic moment for America and the world.” McDonnell, a frequent critic of President Obama as vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association, applauded the president, his administration and the troops. “The death of Osama Bin Laden brings final justice to the evil perpetrator of the attacks of 9/11. Justice has truly been served,” he said.

— Anita Kumar

Md. governor: Death ‘closes sad and tragic chapter’

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley issued a statement Monday in which he commended the work of the U.S. armed forces and staff of the nation’s security agencies.

“This closes a sad and tragic chapter in our country and our world’s history,” he said. “This should be a day of reflection and prayer for a more peaceful future.”

For Alexandria resident, tears and elation

Monday morning, Tim Dudgeon sat on a bench at the Pentagon Memorial and lightly ran his fingers over the name of his fiancee, Sandra “Sandy” Taylor, engraved on one of the memorial benches there. Taylor, 50, an Alexandria resident, was a civilian employee of the U.S. Army who died in the attacks nearly ten years ago.

“It’s such a happy day,” Dudgeon said, crying as he said it. “It is one of those things, a good day but a tough day.”

Dudgeon, 63, a marketing professional from Arlington, saw the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death this morning and was “elated” ... But then his mind started to whirl. Memories came rushing back of his outgoing fiancee, a tall blonde with, as he put it, “great legs.” The wedding they never had time to get to. The gold engagement ring with three diamonds that he bought her that was miraculously recovered in the rubble. He got it back months later.

“I was elated and then kind of just my mind started racing. I was trying to stay elated and then memories started coming home,” he said. “How much I loved her. Just everything about her. She was a wonderful woman.”

He comes to sit on her bench in the serene stone memorial -- where the quiet is punctuated from time to time by blaring trucks and the whirl of traffic on I-395. But he is not a “professional mourner.”

“Today I think it’s necessary I be here,” he said.

— Annie Gowen

Prince George’s official urges vigilance

In Prince George’s County, which lost 24 residents in the 911 attacks, County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) issued a statement applauding the news of Bin Laden’s death, calling it “ a significant moment in the history of our country and another reason to realize that we are all blessed to be Americans,”

But he cautioned that the nation “must remain vigilant in the protection of the homeland.”

— Miranda S. Spivack

Va. Senate candidates praise bin Laden’s death

In Virginia, the major candidates in next year’s marquee Senate race reacted quickly to the news.

Former Gov. Tim Kaine, who served until recently as Obama’s hand-picked chairman of the Democratic National Committee, called bin Laden’s death a “major victory in our long-fought war against terrorism.”

“As we near the tenth anniversary of the atrocities of September 11, 2001 which Virginians experienced first-hand when terrorists attacked the Pentagon, my family’s thoughts and prayers are with all those who lost loved ones on that horrible day and the families of those soldiers killed abroad in the years since,” Kaine said. “ While nothing can replace what they have sacrificed, I hope that they find comfort in knowing that justice was served.”

Former Sen. George Allen (R), who is also running for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. James Webb (D), said the operation was “a measure of justice for the families who lost loved ones on September 11th.”

“This is a testament to the resolve of Americans to see justice served,” Allen added. “I commend President Obama for continuing to pursue this vile terrorist and his networks.”

Former Virginia tea party leader Jamie Radtke, another GOP senate candidate, also praised Obama and the military for the victory, but warned that “we must also never forget that the evil that drove Osama bin Laden still exists – and we must be ever vigilant and strong.”

— Ben Pershing

Praise from D.C. ‘s mayor

Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) praised President Obama and members of the national security team Monday, but he also urged residents of the nation’s capital to “remain vigilant at all times.”

The mayor’s office did not immediately disclose any special security measures that may be taking place in the wake of Osama Bin Laden’s death, but Gray issued a statement:

“I salute the courageous men and women of the United States armed forces and members of the intelligence community for their dedication and steadfast commitment to the fight against terrorism worldwide,” he said. “We will continue to work in coordination with our federal partners to ensure that appropriate protective measures are being taken to ensure our ongoing readiness and safety. District residents are reminded to remain vigilant at all times.”

— Nikita Stewart

Relief, and trepidation, at Pentagon memorial

In the light of the cold spring day, a handful of people gathered amid the serene benches at the memorial honoring the victims of the September 11 attack at the Pentagon. ABC’s Martha Raddatz did a stand up. A worker dragged a mat over the pebbles, evening them with Zen like precision. Somebody had gotten up early to leave a bouquet of red roses at the bench honoring Navy Commander William H. Donovan, who died in the attacks nearly 10 years ago.

“It’s nice to be here on this day,” said Peggy Novick, 50, a hospital employee from Glocester, Rhode Island. “It is a bit strange-- it has been so long. I’m happy for the people who lost somebody and the people at the Pentagon.”

While other tourists said they were also glad to hear news of Bin Laden’s death, they exhibited another emotion: fear of what could come next.

“There ain’t no words to cover it,” said Kelly Schaupert, 59, a truck driver from Missouri. “I just know what’s going to happen: something.”

“End of one era,” said his wife, Shirlene, also 59. “What’s coming next?”

— Annie Gowen

A milestone and a victory

Outside the Pentagon, Air Force Lt. Col. Art Hephy, said the death of Bin Laden marked an important milestone.

“It’s been a long time coming. This shows the perserverance of the American spirit,” Hephy said.

Jeff Frankson, a defense analyst from Glen Rock, N.J., said a friend’s uncle was seriously burned during the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center, so the death of Bin Laden has special significance.

He planned to take a few minutes today to visit the the Pentagon’s Sept. 11 memorial.

“I’m going out with a friend tonight and I will definitely have a few extra drinks,” Frankson said.

“It’s a real moral victory, more than anything else,” Frankson said.

— Justin Jouvenal

More security in Metro

Metro is stepping up security in the transit system as a precaution following Osama bin Laden’s death.

Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein says Metro Transit Police are working with area law enforcement partners to increase security in the system. She says customers are likely to see more uniformed officers in the system beginning Monday.

Farbstein says there are other security measures in place that are designed to be invisible to the public.

— Associated Press

‘A demon has died’

At the Pentagon Metro station, civilian and military workers streamed

out for another workweek. Few wanted to discuss Bin Laden’s death, but there was a quiet sense of satisfaction among some that a mission had been accomplished.

“A demon has died,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Libby Melendez, who was visiting from Georgia for an orientation. “It won’t replace the lives lost, but justice has been served.”

— Justin Jouvenal

‘Everyone’s friends tonight’

The crowd of revelers in front of the White House had thinned to about 75 people, most of them bands of college students who had come to the party late.

Many in the group were intoxicated (cheers of “Shots!” and “Not that drunk” were interspersed in the outpouring of patriotism), but they were peaceful. They continued to chant “USA,” sing the national anthem and wave small American flags in the air. Police kept a watchful eye on the group; a few hours earlier, they had pushed a much larger crowd off the sidewalk in front of the White House fence. Crews moved in around the revelers to collect bottles and cans that littered the ground.

Joe Thomas, 22, a student at George Mason University, was among those who came late and stayed late. At 4 a.m., Thomas stood on Pennsylvania Avenue, an American flag draped across his shoulders. He said he had arrived around 1 a.m. with a group of college buddies, not wanting to miss the historic moment.

“I was like, ‘We have to kind of go check it out,’” Thomas said.

Thomas said there was an air of brotherhood among the revelers who kept partying into the wee hours of the morning.

“It’s just like a day of relief,” Thomas said. “Everyone’s friends tonight.”

Around 5 a.m., with the crowd down to about a dozen people, a street sweeper pulled up.

— Matt Zapotosky

‘It’s like Woodstock’

Hordes of mostly young people descended on the White House, jogging toward a crowd that as of midnight, filled Pennsylvania Avenue and spilled back into Lafayette Park.

People waved American flags and chanted “USA! USA!” as passing cabbies held down their horns. Those who couldn’t get in the crowd stood on park benches to get a better view.

“It’s like Woodstock,” said 35-year-old Bobby Greene. “This is nuts.”

Greene, of Foggy Bottom, said he saw on Twitter — from country singer Braid Paisley, no less — that Obama was making an announcement on CNN. He watched the speech, and then hustled to the White House.

— Matt Zapotosky

Unity renewed

Dan Sadlosky, 23, who lives near Eastern Market, biked to Pennsylvania Avenue with an American flag draped over his back, fastened together in the front with a binder clip.

“I had to grab my flag and bike on down and join the crowd,” he said. “We got him, and [I’m] just thrilled we finally got him.”

Sadlosky straddled his bike — a smile wide across his face — as he high-fived others in the crowd.

“This country’s coming together again, and [I] wanted to be apart of it,” he said.

— Matt Zapotosky

Special visits

Cyclists, drivers and walkers streamed south toward the White House , creating a midnight traffic jam as they neared Lafayette Park. Chants of “USA, USA” filled the night, as several trailed American flags behind them.

Florcy Morisset was watching television with her boyfriend when they decided to head to the White House.

“We were here when Obama was inaugurated and now we get to celebrate another feat,” said Morisset, who was visiting from Philadelphia, as they walked briskly down 15th Street. “This is a slam dunk for the president ... although we know the war is not over.”

— Michael Bolden

‘There’s other consequences’

Andrew Kinde, 21, and Adam Mousa, 22, both George Washington undergrads, stood in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue smoking cigars given to them by a fellow reveler. Both had finished final exams -- Kinde, a paper for international political theory, Mousa a take-home exam in consumer behavior.

Kinde, whose father is an Army colonel serving in Afghanistan, said he was nervous about possible terrorist retribution for Bin Laden’s killing. “It’s a great thing,” he said. “But there’s other consequences to it.”

— Mike DeBonis

Honoring the 9-11 victims

Courtney Lawson, 22, drove in from Oxon Hill with her mother to join revelers in front of the White House and to commemorate her aunt, who was killed in the Pentagon on Sept. 11. The two wore matching white T-shirts with the phrase “We remember Cecelia E. Richard” emblazoned on the front. Courtney even carried a picture of Richard in a massive gold frame.

Lawson said her aunt worked as an accountant and had just moved to the side of the Pentagon that was damaged during the attack. She said hearing word of Bin Laden’s slaying had special resonance with her family.

“I broke down and started crying,” Courtney Lawson said. “We’re just a little at peace.”

— Matt Zapotosky

Global support

A rare Canadian flag was found in the hand of Curtis Hogan, 20, who drove alone from his parents’ house in Falls Church — after driving 12 hours earlier in the day after finishing the semester at Queens College in Kingston, Ontario.

The maple-leaf flag, along with a matching U.S. flag, came from the front door of his parents’ house. His father is a Canadian diplomat.

“You guys are celebrating, but a lot of other folks from around the world are celebrating today,” he said.

— Mike DeBonis

A long wait

Springfield resident Mark Albosta, had just finished volunteering at Arena Stage when he heard the news. The 61-year-old headed to the White House.

“This is a historic time and a time for all Americans to unite,” he said. “We’ve waited to see this day for a long time. I think it’s a start to stopping terrorism. “

Albosta was working for United Airlines on Sept. 11. He was working the night shift that day and was at the gym when the towers were attacked.

“I hope America will unite now,” he said, noting that he saw that happening tonight as he stood with the masses outside the White House. “There has been too much bipartisan bickering.”

— Jennifer Buske

‘Tomorrow will be another day’

Jane Maltby, 45, who lost her husband, Christian Maltby, then 37 and a vice president at Cantor Fitzgerald, was drifting in and out of sleep, watching “Brothers & Sisters” when ABC News broke in with news of Bin Laden’s death.

Reached at her home in Chatham, N.J., she said the news “took my breath away.” She watched for an hour and then went sleep as usual.

“Tomorrow will be a normal day,” she said. “That’s pretty much what we’ve done for anniversaries, is try to keep our lives exactly the same. This Monday morning, we will get up and go on with the day.”

The only adjustment she said she will make is wait to read the newspapers until after her three children have left for school. “I don’t want to start the day with [Bin Laden’s] picture on the front. Not as they leave out the door to school,” she said.

“There is a sense of closure,” she said. “I am thankful that he is gone and ten years -- it’s been a long time. It feels like it’s finally over a bit.”

— Annys Shin

At the Pentagon Memorial

Chris Carrington, 42, was working as a Verizon technician in the North parking lot of the Pentagon on Sept. 11, and said his crew stayed throughout that day trying run cables for authorities to get communications running that day.

About 1:30 a.m., the Arlington native came back to the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington unsure of his feelings, whether to celebrate or mourn again.

“Some people want to go the White House ... but you have remember these people here too,” Carrington said, pointing at the memorial.

About two dozen people trickled into the Pentagon memorial in the hours after the president’s speech. Most wandered silently along the gravel paths, many took photos with their cameras, and a few sobbed alone.

— Clarence Williams

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