Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama, No Longa

I came down to breakfast this morning, and my husband dropped a bomb on me.

"They killed Osama bin Laden, yesterday."

I sat there with my mouth gaping open so long that my eggs got cold, and my jaw now aches a little.

Having worked in the news business before becoming a stay-home Mom, I have a personal connection to these stories.  In fact, a CNN colleague who came to my baby shower had actually interviewed Osama bin Laden.  In college, I studied bin Laden, when he was still just a rising star, a phenomenal character with great appeal and influence on the younger generation.  I remember conversations in class where we all wondered just what this man was capable of, and why few people seemed alarmed by things he had written.

As a journalist, I used to wake up every day and make it my business to know how many bombs were dropped in Iraq, how many people were killed in combat, how many days we'd been at war.  I still remember the day that President Bush declared the "war on terror".  I was standing in the weight room of my local gym.  All of the TVs were on.  Everyone nodded their heads in unison.  Yes, Hussein must pay for this....say WHAT?  I felt like I was watching the world in slow motion.  I didn't like what I was seeing.  But there didn't seem to be any way to wake up from this strange dream.

I have that same feeling today.  I feel agitated.  I feel irritated.  I feel bothered.  I feel the same way that I felt when I returned to DC for a second time. The first time I worked there was pre-September 11th.  That was a time of scandal, but it was child's play compared to post-9-11.  When I returned to work in DC, it was the first anniversary of 9-11.  My co-workers, who I had known in 1999 as very laid back, sarcastic, happy-go-lucky individuals, were visibly shaken.  Even a year later, it was like the horror had returned to inflict a second wave of damage.  I remember that I covered a press conference updating the public on the 9-11 Pentagon survivors.  They were badly burned, and doctors outlined the many surgeries they had undergone and what medical miracles were performed to get them to  Some of their wives and children were present.  It was a quiet press conference.

On the way out of that presser, my cameraman, a good old buddy of mine, was visibly shaken.  He was trembling in the elevator as he caught me up on what it was like that day for all of us fellow journalists. I often talk about what a privilege it is to be a journalist.  We get to see and hear things that no one else will EVER see and hear. But the flip side of this privilege is that many times, we get to see and hear things that no one else would ever want to see and hear.  The effect can be traumatic.

There was fear in the air during that entire week.  There was a heaviness that I could not attribute solely to the early-autumn DC heatwave.

I feel a similar heaviness today.  It feel sorrow for everyone who has died at the hands of terrorists, and as a result of the world's efforts to combat terror. 

I also feel guilt.  This weekend, I went to Yoga for Congo, and it was a great event.  The money raised went to help Women for Women International, which benefits women in the Congo who are refugees of war that resulted from the greed and violence of men like Saddam Hussein.  In her autobiography, the founder of Women for Women International, opens up about her connection to Saddam.  Her father was his personal pilot for years, and she was taught to call him "uncle".  She speaks of the guilt she feels for her connection to him.

I feel that guilt too today, because in a way much of the good fortune I have experienced in my career was connected to these great and terrible men.  Surely there would have been other stories to cover, had these gross tragedies not occurred, but these are the stories that I covered.  This was my world to own.  And in a way, I benefited from their evil choices.

It makes my skin crawl to write those words.  But it's how I feel today.  I feel ashamed of war.  I feel saddened by what evil choices are made in the world that cause war.

With that said, I realize that in life there is a time to fight, and there are certain things worth fighting for.  I pray that the leaders of the countries of the world, and the regular citizens like you and me will have the wisdom to know when that time is and how to go about doing it.

Personally, I choose to play my part in the battle in my own home, raising up a righteous generation of children who will be good citizens of the world, who will have compassion and charity as their guiding principles, and who will stand for truth in a world that is, more often than not, unable to agree on what is up and what is down.  I hope that my contribution will be enough.

I watched "The Best Years of Our Lives" on Netflix last week, and was completely blown away by the movie.  It chronicles three men returning from WWII.  One part is played by a real-life veteran who has lost both hands in the war.  This scene in particular is now one of my favorite movie scenes of all-time.  (Click here to see it.)

As I sit here in my living room, typing this post, I can hear horses hooves clip-clopping outside on the road that goes past my neighborhood.  I can hear birds singing.  I can hear a new house being built.  The town that I call home is a very peaceful one.  And I know that that peace has been hard-earned by soldiers who have left their safe places to venture out into a very dangerous world...on my behalf.

I am not sure how to end this post, just as I am not sure how the current state of world affairs will end.  I only know that even as I witness the atrocities of man, so did the Savior witness this and a million times more unspeakable crimes as he paid the price for them in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He witnessed all of the suffering that would befall man as a result of war.  He saw it all.  And so I put my trust in Him, to see us through it all as well.


  1. Jocelyn, you have such a beautiful way with words! Thank you for sharing your perspective. I love how you said that your part in the battle is choosing to raise up a righteous generation of children...SO TRUE!!

  2. I loved your post... I just worry so much about the Al-Qaeda seeking revenge. I need to have more Faith.

  3. I feel so unsettled by all of this, too. It gives me the heebie-jeebies to hear people cheering about someone's death, however evil he/she was. No matter what they did in this life, is it ever acceptable for anyone to celebrate like this? I am fairly certain that if anyone I loved was killed by bin Laden that I would be smiling from ear to ear if not cheering. But is that right?
    I don't know...I'm just so sick of all this war and destruction and cruelty. And trying really hard to remain focused on my faith that everything will be okay.

  4. Aaron and I were a bit taken back by it all shown on the news last night. My BIL called and we immediately switched on the TV to see total enthusiastic crowds. We didn't like what we saw. Oh...don't get me wrong...I am so glad that this one chapter has closed and I am so happy that what we have fought for for so long has been achieved, but it's not the end...and I don't reminded me of the crowds I saw on TV when the Berlin Wall came down. And it's just not the same--so how dare it be the same?

    Not sure if I am making any sense...

  5. I had a disgust/gladness as I read the news this morning.

    I am sad that the world cheers as someone has been killed. I am sad that bin Laden has wrecked so much terror on the world, yet he was still a person. Doing wrong in the name of his beliefs, but still a person.

    I love where you mentioned that you will "choose to play my part in the battle in my own home, raising up a righteous generation of children who will be good citizens of the world, who will have compassion and charity as their guiding principles, and who will stand for truth "

    Simply wonderful. What a beautiful way to put it. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I've been reading posts about how joyous it is and in a way it's good news but so sad. My heart feels so torn. I am very grateful for the men and women who fight for our freedoms.

  7. I turned on the computer this morning and was greeted by the news. I was heartbroken, though, to see that people are cheering and celebrating over this man's death. I understand that what he did was atrocious. I understand that he was the means of bring about the death of far too many people. That he was horribly evil. I also understand and am a full supporter of justice. I just think it is horribly sad that people would rejoice at the death of someone else. I ma happy that he will no longer be the means of such evil. But I am sad that anyone has to lose a life, and more so that many people are not reacting in a Christ like manner. He would never cheer at the death of one of his enemies. He would weep. Why, then do we?
    Just my thoughts.

    Thank you for posting such a moving post today. I really appreciated it.

  8. My Sweetheart said, "WHOA, that's huge." My question is what is the next step and who is going to take the place of this leader. Will the next guy be more merciful or more cruel? Only God knows that. I believe we have seen a sign of the last days where human life is not valued. I wonder if the cheers are for an end. But an end to what? Maybe that's my pessimism. It isn't like the end of WWII where there was a clear end because of the surrender of the Nazis and Japanese.

    So on the flip, are we glad we have a perspective of truth? Joshua was told to "Be strong and of a good cheer." What is there in this situation to be of good cheer over? I look and smile at 2 boys that bring me happiness and a hard-working loving hubby. That is what my world is. World events effect us, but I guess I live on small scale. :D

  9. I love that movie.

    And I loved your post, too.

    Thanks, Jocelyn.


  10. Really inspiring perspective on these events. I enjoyed this post. Thank you!

  11. "Personally, I choose to play my part in the battle in my own home, raising up a righteous generation of children who will be good citizens of the world, who will have compassion and charity as their guiding principles, and who will stand for truth in a world that is, more often than not, unable to agree on what is up and what is down. I hope that my contribution will be enough."


  12. This is an interesting perspective. I am glad I read your post.

    My husband is in the military, and while we are definitely celebrating this event it is as a military victory - not as a man's death. It was a little weird to watch people celebrate, but I like to think they really understand what this means - and it is not about taking a man's life. It is about preserving freedom. I celebrate this huge step toward freedom for many people, but to celebrate it as "vengeance" ... well, "for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."

    Thanks again for your comments and your perspective.

    And your contribution will be more than enough. I believe it already is. Thank you so much for it.

    MySoul Delighteth

  13. Thank you for always, I enjoy your thoughts and testimony. Thank you also for participating in my sharing post last week! Of course I feel like I know you from reading your blog, but it was fun to see your name pop up again!!!


  14. Jocelyn, I agree with you. I'm kind of grossed out by people celebrating Osama's death. What? They just go and kill him? No capture? Not even a trial? What kind of justice is that?

  15. I was up last night when it was announced that they had killed Osama. The President held a news conference. The sad thing is I don't think it is going to stop the war. In my opinion we will not win this war. The middle east has been at war forever and I just feel it is another sign of the Coming of the Savior which at this point I look forward too. Yes, let's raise righteous children; that is our calling.
    Thanks for this enlightening post.
    Blessings to you!

  16. enjoyed reading of your experiences as a journalist, now as a mother and training your children to face the world before them. The history since adam has been a battle between good and evil. We know it will continue and only escalate until the prince of peace returns to restore peace. it will be a challenge for all of us to maintain our faith and courage...

  17. I enjoyed reading every little bit of this! But the ending, that last paragraph... "unspeakable crimes as he paid the price for them in the Garden of Gethsemane" really struck an emotional cord with me. I thought of loved ones who struggle, and have great need of the Atonement. Somehow, thinking of Christ suffering, even for people like Osama bin Laden if they will but repent, - gave me greater hope than even I have had. The gospel of Jesus Christ IS TRUE. Jesus Christ did pay the price for our sins; and total and complete repentance IS POSSIBLE.
    Thank you so much for this fabulous reminder. In a world so filled with turmoil, we are so blessed to have the hope of the Atonement and Resurrection. :)

  18. I love you, jocelyn. I love what you wrote and who you are. I feel so blessed to have met you in person.

    The sleepy time gal

  19. A lot of women (most) would not have given up a thrilling career as you must have had to raise children. Thank you for your courageous example. There are very few such "leaders" that my college-age daughters can emulate.

  20. I feel very similar. As a matter of fact, so much so that I did not blog about it. I am glad to read yours today. The world is a pretty scary place. I can't believe how much it has changed and is continuing to change. I believe in the principle of repentance. I believe in the Atonement. I believe that He knows who we are and what we need. thank you for posting today.

  21. I had no idea you were a journalist! It makes perfect sense now, since I think you are an excellent writer. I enjoyed getting a peek into your thoughts on the current situation. I heard about it Sunday night and watched the Presiden't speech live. All I could think was whether this man would receive any kind of forgiveness, What was it like to enter the Spirit World? I bet he found out very quickly how wrong he had been. I also wondered what the retaliation for us would be. I must admit, the world is a better place without him in it, in my opinion. But, regardless, he was still a child of God. I feel guilt for thinking that. I feel like I don't want anyone to know I feel that way, because so many hate him. I lived right outside NYC when 9/11 happened. In fact, I could see the smoke from the WTC from my front window. I could smell it. I could smell burning flesh, for days. I don't wish that upon anyone. I had nightmares for years. But I still had pity for the man.
    I'm glad the hunt is over. I pray for peace here in the United States. i pray for protection.
    Thanks for your words. And thanks for your example of courage, to do what you know to be right and be a full time mother to your children. There are few women in the world that would leave such a successful and lucrative career such as yours. And although we don't see into your whole life, I know that you and your family are truly blessed for that decision.
    And finally, sorry this was a novel! :-) Love you, Jocelyn! I'm glad to know you!

  22. I agree, I had sort of forgotten about the war on terror since I never watch TV news, and this brought all my anger over Iraq back. Great post

  23. The Best Years of Our Lives is one of my favorite movies! We watched it in our history class in high school. (Did you know that the guy with the hooks really did lose his hands in the war?)

  24. We, too, have built a career based on the terrible events of 9-11 and fighting terror, though not in the same way. And I feel no guilt over it. Sadness, but not guilt.
    The photos of people cheering in the street, waving flags and celebrating reminded me of the same type of photos taken of people in the streets of the middle eatern countries we fight, cheering the deaths of Americans on 9-11. It was eerie.
    I wonder, however how people would react if they actually knew the details that the intelligence community keeps hidden from the public. The actual numbers of lives he and his followers ended without provocation, the horrific acts of torture and opperession, the terrorism we didn't hear about, the terrible things they attempted but were stopped, or had planned to do in the future. I don't think anyone would be demanding a trial or jail cell for this man or his closest followers. I am quite relieved he can no longer lead others in evil or plot to hurt thousands of innocent people in the name of his religion.