9/11 families react to bin Laden death

Charles Wolf, who lost his wife in the 9/11 attacks, talks about the announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden in a U.S.-led operation. AP video. (May 2)

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They lost brothers, sons, daughters, mothers. And last night, some of the families of 9/11 victims on Long Island said that finally, after a decade, they felt a sense of justice, however bittersweet, in the news that the leader of al- Qaida was dead.

John Vigiano of Deer Park lost two sons -- a firefighter and a police officer -- that day. "Right now I have no feeling of joy. No feeling of happiness, not even any satisfaction," he said late last night. Still, "he got what he deserved," Vigiano said of Osama bin Laden. "I hope he suffered as much as we did."

Bryan Rosen of Astoria, whose father, Mark Rosen, died at the World Trade Center while working for Sandler O'Neill, was relieved when a friend sent him a text message last night with the news.

"The first three to four years I have had anger and hatred," said Rosen, who was only 16 when his father died. "But I haven't been thinking about catching bin Laden in the last few years. I've gone past that."

Kathy Ugalde of Deer Park, whose father, Raymond Downey, chief of rescue operations for the FDNY, was killed, said her emotions ran the gamut from relief to sadness.

"Ten years later, I feel a sense of relief to know they got the person who murdered my father," she said.

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Ugalde said she was sitting with her mother, Rosalie, watching President Barack Obama's address. "I got a bit of adrenaline rush . . . I'm still trying to take it all in. I feel sad. I feel like crying."

Rosemary Cain of Massapequa lost her son George, 35, also a firefighter. Cain, who gives tours at Ground Zero and tells people about those who died, said justice had been served. "It makes me sad it didn't happen 10 years earlier. There is justice for our boys. There's one less evil person in the world."

Talat Hamdani of Lake Grove, who lost her son Salman, 23, a police cadet, said bin Laden's death "would not bring happiness to the relatives of the nearly 3,000 who died but, as a nation, we delivered."

Speaking of President Barack Obama's address, she added: "He spoke so well about the victims. It made me proud to be an American."

While crowds took to the street in Washington, D.C., last night, cheering at the White House gates, many of the 9/11 families took in the news more quietly at their homes. Some were awakened to be told the news.

And if they were relieved, some also were convinced bin Laden's death would bring no lasting peace. "It's not going to end terror," said Kitty Grinnell of Centereach, who lost her brother, Jimmy, a Port Authority police officer, on Sept. 11.

"Somebody else will pick up and carry out their cause." she said. "I am glad, but I don't think it's the end of everything."

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