Families Of Fallen Soldiers React To Bin Laden's Death

Monday, May 2, 2011 - 5:40pm

FORT BLISS - For some families, the news is uplifting; One mother of a fallen soldier we spoke with said she feels her son did not die in vain. For others, it is not a time to celebrate, because it is a reminder that the war on terror is still not over.

"The leader of the Al Qaeda terrorist network, responsible for the murder of so many innocent men, women, and children, has had his just due," said Fort Bliss Commanding General Dana J. H. Pittard.

Emotions permeated through a memorial ceremony at Fort Bliss. Officials, soldiers, and families came together, not only to honor fallen service men and women, but to also celebrate being American.

"Yesterday was just an example of that; we will win this war," Maj. Gen. Pittard said.

Although not the main focus of the ceremony, there's no doubt that the buzz of Osama bin Laden's death washed over those remembering the fallen.

"Lori Piestewa was 23 years old when they were attacked in Nasiriyah and got killed that very first day," said Terry Piestewa, who lost his daughter in 2003. He says the news of bin Laden's death is bittersweet.

"We were happy that it had happened and we are just sad that it's still ongoing after all these years," he said.

"I think the first thought I had was, thank you god, finally it wasn't in vain," said Patricia Roberts, who lost her son, Jamaal Addison in 2003. Leaving behind a son, he was the first soldier to die for Georgia. Roberts says the news has given her trip to see the memorial in El Paso new meaning.

"Here I am, down here on the last land that he touched in this country, and then to get the news that the one responsible has been killed at the same time," she said.

So while some rejoice at bin Laden's death, others didn't let it cloud their daily reminder of the price they and their family members have paid.

"We don't celebrate anything like that because we've sacrificed too much," Piestewa said.

The news also won't change Fort Bliss's training or deployment schedule. Over the next five months, thousands of Fort Bliss soldiers will serve their country overseas.

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