When George Martin woke up Monday morning and heard the news, he didn't believe it. His mind tried to grasp the death of Osama bin Laden, he said, but couldn't. He started asking himself questions: Are they sure? Is this a prank? A comedy bit in bad taste?
"But when it eventually sunk in that it was a real news item, it was almost like a sigh of relief came over me," the former Giants defensive lineman told Newsday Monday night. "After so many years, almost a decade, when we vowed that we would get this guy and those words almost seemed empty at times -- oh, man, to finally realize that probably the most despicable person on the face of the Earth had finally met his just end."
Martin lost several close friends in the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He created a foundation, "A Journey for 9/11," which raises money for the health needs of first responders and had him literally walk across the country raising money and awareness. Yesterday, he reached out to one of the people he met on his walk.
"In that letter, I told him that our search for justice had concluded and I quoted the president by saying 'We got him,' " Martin said. "To me, those were words that I thought we would never be able to say or never hear. I'm delighted that we can this day."
Martin said he does not believe in celebrating anyone's death. "But I did celebrate the closure and the fact that a criminal was brought to justice," he said. He also said his foundation will continue to raise funds and remain vigilant.
"In meeting so many people whose lives were touched by those events, I know that the wish, the hope, the prayer was always that some semblance of justice would eventually be carried out against Osama bin Laden," Martin said. "That kind of closure is tremendous for those whose hearts were torn apart because of the incidents on 9/11."