What is clear is that the death of Bin Laden is not the time to change course. If anything, we need to double down now in our efforts to eradicate these animals, and, the sooner we do, the better chance we have of winning this prolonged war.
We reveled in joy on this day, as did our son. He joined the celebration on the Ohio State campus, participating with hundreds of other college students in chants of “USA, USA, USA.” Our daughter, now studying at Hofstra University in New York, exhibited a more subdued demeanor. She aligned herself with our friend, Rabbi David Wolpe, who wrote “Yesterday, Yom Hashoah, Bin Laden was killed. The proper reaction is sobriety, not revelry. This is a time to remember those who died, pray for those who fight, meditate anew on wickedness and redouble our dedication to justice.” Neither an ocean nor six time zones could make a dent in the unanimous feelings of our family – we were all happy to see him go.
We wanted to share our joy; after all, this is a moment when you want to hug someone. The Italians were joyous as well, fervently expressing how this mass murderer deserved to die and asking why such men even exist. In a place like Capri, an island of peace and beauty, a man like Bin Laden is utterly incongruous.
But we really needed Americans with whom to share our exhilaration. We ventured to a must-see place at Capri – the Blue Grotto, which legend says was the swimming pool of a Roman emperor. It is a cavern where sunlight passes through and creates the most beautiful blue glow to the water. You enter through a small crevice on rowboats manned by the fun-loving Italians.
As we waited in line, we struck up a conversation with the people behind us. They were paisanos from New Jersey – Nick and Sal. Here we all were – two East Coast Italians and two West Coast Jews – celebrating the day. Sal was a retired firefighter who went into ground zero the second day. We were gathered directly under the Capitol Dome when the plane hit the Pentagon. I told them I was a Bush appointee and you would have thought I gave them Mama’s best cannolis. We got in our boats and drifted into the cavern of the Blue Grotto, where we floated side-by-side as our oarsmen sang Puccini arias in full voice. Life was never meant to be this wonderful.
We rode together in a Capri Cab – with the top down, of course – back to Anacapri, the other town on the island. We parted ways, but did not part from each other. Just as the horror of 9/11 will forever be seared into our memories, we will always remember where we were and what we did the day Bin Laden died.