Monday, May 2, 2011

Bin Laden Killed

Osama bin Laden changed my life. He changed who I am, how I think, what I believe. He changed how I view the world and he changed how I view Muslims.

On September 11, 2001 I was 19 years old. Green behind the ears. Thought I had it all figured out. I had just come back from a 3 day weekend spent in Switzerland. I was living in Germany. My barracks room was on Patton Barracks and I worked a couple miles away on the shopping complex. It was the end of our work day when we were pulled into the lobby for our end of the day briefing and dismissal. Our First Sergeant suddenly burst into the room, followed by 2 soldiers who were weeping. He was a solemn man but this time it was different...almost stunned and angry. He turned on the TV, stood against the far wall and quietly told 6 soldiers to go to the roof and start making fighting positions from the sand bags in the basement, he told the pregnant soldiers to start gathering supplies, those from NYC to call their loved ones, and do so until they got through, and the rest of us were to control traffic. In the hours that followed, we were put on lock down. A very pregnant woman went into labor, and an older gentleman was having heart trouble. We were able to get them off post and into a cab that would take them to the hospital across town where they would be met at the gate by an ambulance. I was in a cast, I was put on guard duty at the PX where the manager had forgotten (in all the chaos) to lock up before closing for the night. We didn't sleep that night, it was probably 32 hours before any of us were able to rest. The next day I was sent to the hospital to have my cast removed. After removing the cast, they gave me a steroid shot and some pain meds, and sent me back to work. It was an amazing time in history, and to this day, I've never seen the footage. I can't imagine what those days must have been like here in the states. In Germany we were kept busy, there was so much going on and so much to do, it left little time to slow down and think of the ramifications of what had happened. Life just seemed to stand still. Within a month, help arrived, units from Chicago came to help pull guard duty. We were able to resume our previous duties but life never went back to normal. I was so angry with him. I didn't understand him, or his religion. This religion of hate. His willingness to kill.

And then I met a Muslim. And she wasn't angry. She wasn't packing heat, waiting for the next White Christian American to happen along. She was funny. She was kind and beautiful. Full of life. Full of willingness. She was able to debunk so much of my fear. She asked if I was willing to blow up an abortion clinic in the name of God. Of course I wasn' the same way she wasn't willing to fly a plane into the next sky scraper. Horrible things have been done in the name of religion and I have struggled to separate the act from the religion. A little research has shown me that the Muslim religion (as a whole) does not advocate violence and murder, they are peaceful (for the most part) and like any other religion or large group of people they have a few bad apples, a few extremists and they're the ones drawing the most attention. I do not fear Muslims, I fear Muslim Extremists, just as I fear Christian Extremists.

I worry for the hate this will stir up, the retaliations.

I am sad for this man....these men. These extremists who are have so much hate in them. I pray for their souls. I know that God would love to be able to take them home with him.