When I woke up this morning I followed my normal routine of checking my computer and checking my phone to make sure that I didn't miss any messages from my husband. With him being deployed to Afghanistan right now, getting a Skype call, an instant message or a phone call from him is always the best part of my day. In fact, I carry my phone with me wherever I go, and I always make sure that my instant messenger and Skype forwards calls and messages to my cell phone when I'm not by my computer. After I got our son up, dressed and fed, I sat down with him to play as I watched the news. And when I turned on my local news this morning, there weren't the usual weather and traffic updates, but just a constant stream of information on the death of Osama bin Laden.
When I first saw this headline, I didn't believe it. I was in shock that after so long we had finally managed to find and kill this horrible person who was responsible for so many deaths on 9/11 and the person who was responsible for my husband missing the first year of our son's life, and not getting to be here with me and just do all of the stuff that most married couples do. I was happy that he was gone, but in that same moment, when I saw the crowds gathering on the streets in every major city celebrating, I was scared. I thought of the retaliation that might come from the terrorist organizations after we not all killed their leader, but were celebrating in the streets as well.
When I began getting phone calls from my friends telling me that bin Laden was dead, as if I already didn't know, they were surprised that I wasn't celebrating with them. I explained to them that this just makes me afraid that now al-Qaida was going to just try to fight harder against our military service members.
As I continued to watch the news coverage, I heard many people reiterating that this meant that our troops could come home, and that this would be the end of the war. But, Saddam Hussein was captured almost eight years ago, and between his capture and now, my husband has done two tours of duty in Iraq. Even though combat operations are over there, troops are still being deployed there, and we are currently trying to decide how much longer we are going to stay in that country. The war in Afghanistan, just as the war in Iraq eight years ago, is far from being over.
The capture of bin Laden, although good news, is not something that we should be overly excited about. Our troops are still in both Afghanistan and Iraq, away from their families, and fighting for our country. The celebrating that we have seen today all over the country should be something that is done when the wars are both declared over, and our troops can come home to their families.
Lauren Finnegan graduated from Hawaii Pacific University with a bachelor's degree in political science and has an insider's perspective on the military because of her role as a military wife who has lived around the country.