How the Death of Osama Bin Laden Made America’s Dream Come True

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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America's dream of binladen being dead

When one thinks of a successful dream, rarely does one think of death. But there I was sitting on my couch with my son watching the end of 60 Minutes when the program was interrupted to announce that President Obama was about to inform the world that Osama Bin Laden was killed.

“Oh my God!” I said aloud as my son and I looked at each other in disbelief.

We were instantly glued to the television. It felt like some cruel joke. Could it be true? Was he finally dead? Will America finally get the closure it’s been seeking ever since that fateful September day in 2001.

9/11 is one of those life events where everyone remembers exactly where they were when it happened. It was as if the entire nation came together in a shared tragedy, then fell into shock, followed by anger and a slow crawl forward into a new century.

And Osama Bin Laden was the elephant we carried on our united backs.

Would we ever see him brought to justice?

As the President’s speech finished I could hear myself breathe a long sigh of relief. I don’t even know where that breath came from, but I felt the elephant sliding down off America’s collective back. My son began to laugh and run around the living room, and I realized that he’s a kid who’s grown up in the shadow of 9/11 and terrorism — much like I grew up in the shadow of the Vietnam War and the Cold War.

How I’d forgotten, as a little girl I dreamed of the day we wouldn’t have to hear about the Vietnam War on the nightly news — then how I dreamed of the day I could stop worrying if someone was going to “push the button” and start WWIII. We forget how war-talk tears at the souls of kids.

I remember where I was when I heard the Vietnam War was over. I remember how happy all the children were at the school and how we laughed and played — overjoyed that the war had ended.

And there was my 16-year-old son jubilant at the news that Bin Laden was dead, just like I was on that playground back in January of 1973 when the President’s voice announced over the loud speaker the end to the war.

When President Obama’s speech ended, the TV quickly changed to images of people gathering in front of The White House and flocking on to New York streets in celebration — it was an American dream come true.

My neighbors gathered outside their homes, as if wanting to reach out and say, “look, we did it — we got the bad guy!” It felt like we should be drinking champagne and marching downtown to some sort of parade.

bin laden on twitter

Surreal feelings since we would be celebrating someone’s death.

I wasn’t born when it was announced that Hitler was dead, but I can now appreciate how that must have felt for my parents and my grandparents. Sometimes dreams are bigger than you.

Sometimes they involve an entire nation.


  • Carmen

    The so-called skeptics mock the efforts of the brave soldiers who carried out this operation. I am so proud of our soldiers and the Commander and Chief for their success.

  • I think everyone should buy these “Obama got Osama” Tshirts and caps and wear them on 9/11! See:

  • Anonymous

    I have my own thoughts personally about 9-11 and OBL, but I certainly support America’s right to think what they want.

  • Bill1

    Congrats Obama on the victory! Let’s get back to the economy now.

  • Remy Gervais, Top Photographer

    God Bless America. Great post! Rem

  • This is nice news for the western world, although I wonder what Al Qaeda and other small terror networks are going to do after this. Perhaps retaliate? Hopefully not.

  • Jessie Payne

    I didn’t really believe the nation was actually hunting him anymore. I thought he’d maybe died of sickness or inside a cave he was living in and no one would ever know.

    • I figured it was only a matter of time, but like you I wondered if he was already dead and his closest followers did not want anyone to know. Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts on this historic event.

  • Jasmine

    Finally, justice has been served. Let us never forget the loved ones and individuals lost to us on September 11. Even though OBL may be eliminated, the vigilance against terrorism must persist. Let’s celebrate the occasion, yet not forget. May God Bless us All.


  • This was in my Facebook stream from an old high school friend:

    “Now I lay me down to sleep
    one less terrorist the world to keep
    with all my heart I give my thanks
    to those in uniform regardless of ranks
    you serve our country and serve it well
    with humble hearts your stories tell
    so as I rest my weary eyes
    while freedom rings our flag still flies
    you give your all, do what you must
    with God we live and God we trust.”

    I thought it fitting. Even though it smacks of God-talk lol Should say Goddess . . .


  • AG

    I am so proud of our President and armed forces for making this happen. God bless America!

  • I totally agree that this was a great day for America.

  • Jayne Speich, Financial Assistance

    This morning as I came home from dropping my son off at school, I saw from a distance a lone man in army fatigues standing on a corner, holding an American flag. He was standing very still, except for the occasional small wave when a passing driver honked a car horn. As I got closer to him and could see his face, it wasn’t jubilation I read there but determination and maybe even an edge of sadness. To me, that was the picture of the nation. Yes, we are celebrating an important milestone. And yes, a part of us is still sad. Because this death doesn’t change the thousands of deaths from 9/11, or the thousands of deaths that came after in the long struggle for justice. The question for me is, what do we as a world community do with this death that permanently and forever changes the world’s environment so there is never another 9/11?

    Thanks for your timely post, Cath.


    • Great question. But I think it does heal wounds and brings a type of closure that people need from 9/11. No one forgets the loss of a loved-one. I am forever changed by my father’s death and none of us will ever forget 9/11, but at least we refused to give up bringing that man to justice.

      Hitler committed suicide, ending a life that brought so much suffering to more people than any other in history. People back then were uncertain if Hilter’s death was real because no clearly identifiable corpse was known to have been found. It wasn’t until 1995 that retired Soviet intelligence officers finally confirmed that they found and identified Hitler’s remains. I don’t think people got the closure they would have had if Hitler would have been tried and shot, or hung.

      My former mother-in-law was a young girl in Italy when Mussolini was captured by Partisans, shot and hanged upside-down in a Milan plaza. She got dressed up with her family to attend his hanging. It was a proud day for her — one she talked about her entire life.

      I think the world is a better place without these two men and time will prove the same about Bin Laden.

      I am thinking about Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld today — wondering what she is thinking — remember my interview and story, Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld’s Dream to Stop Terrorism ? Such a remarkable woman. She reminds me so much of my ex mother-in-law.


  • Katie

    Great post, Cath! A big win for all of US!

  • I cried. It’s bloody wonderful.

  • I was “boots-on-ground” in Afghanistan, with the U.S. Army, immediately following 9/11, Catherine. Ten years later, this means very much to both civilians, as well as, men and women in uniform who sacrificed quite a bit in this endeavor. Thank you for your post…indeed, an American dream did come true today. thanks again,

    • Thank you Howie. Thank you for your unselfish service to our country and for being one of the men and women who go after “the bad guys.” We cannot thank you enough. Last night as my son was laying in bed, about to fall asleep, I said, “Sleep well. The good guys got the boogie man today.” He laughed and rolled over to sleep.

      It was a restful nights sleep for both of us. Thank you.


  • jean

    I’m so happy that I keep hearing:

    Callin’ out around the world, are you ready for a brand new beat?
    Summer’s here and the time is right for dancin’ in the street.
    Dancin’ in Chicago (dancin’ in the street)
    Down in New Orleans (dancin’ in the street)
    In New York City

    All we need is music, sweet music,
    There’ll be music everywhere
    There’ll be swingin’ swayin’, and records playin,
    Dancin’ in the street

    Oh it doesn’t matter what you wear, just as long as you are there.
    So come on every guy, grab a girl,
    Everywhere, around the world

    There’ll be dancin’, they’re dancin’ in the street.
    This is an invitation, across the nation,
    A chance for folks to meet.
    There’ll be laughin’ singin’, and music swingin’
    Dancin’ in the street

    Philadelphia P.A., Baltimore and D.C now,
    Can’t forget the motor city,
    All we need is music, sweet music
    There’ll be music everywhere
    There’ll be swingin’ swayin’, and records playin,
    Dancin’ in the street

    Oh it doesn’t matter what you wear, just as long as you are there.
    So come on every guy, grab a girl,
    Everywhere, around the world

    They’re dancin’, dancin’ in the street
    Way down in L.A., every day they’re dancin’ in the street
    Lets form a big strong line, and get in time,
    We’re dancin’ in the street.
    Across the ocean blue, me and you
    We’re dancin n the street