- The Washington Times - Friday, May 6, 2011

My son, Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Wilson, was killed in Afghanistan just over a year ago.So the death of Osama bin Laden is personal and bittersweet.Just knowing that he cannot hurt another soul brings me peace, but at the same time, I can’t help being sad that so many good people had to die to rid the world of this monster.

It doesn’t bring my son back, but it is a landmark event in the battle against terrorism to which he committed his life and for which he gave his life. Justin believed we were winning this war, but the progress he saw was harder to see across the distance of an ocean.The death of bin Laden is progress that the entire world recognizes.

Osama bin Laden played a role in shaping Justin’s patriotism.He was 15 on Sept. 11, 2001, and we lived on Long Island, N.Y., then. The events of Sept. 11 inspired Justin’s commitment to serve his country. He was part of the post-9/11 generation who believed that they could serve their country best by joining the military and defending the nation against foreign terrorists.Some, like Justin, have made the ultimate commitment, risking and losing their lives in the battle to defeat terrorism.I have heard from some of Justin’s fellow Marines and their families this week.Like me, they feel that bin Laden’s death reminds the world that their dedication and sacrifice in this long fight against terrorism is worthwhile.

So I am proud to know that the last face bin Laden saw was a member of the U.S. military.Brave men completed an important part of the mission to which Justin and his comrades dedicated their lives. Everyone who has served in this war and everyone who is still serving should take great pride in this accomplishment. I hope it brings comfort to those who grieve for brothers in arms lost in the war.Their brothers can rest in peace now.I hope it eases the pain of those who have come home wounded in body or spirit.I hope all the loved ones of all these warriors take pride in this event, which demonstrates beyond question what the U.S. military and intelligence services can achieve in defense of our country.I pray that our sense of pride and accomplishment is shared and helps sustain the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 as well as all the first responders - our police and firefighters who have dedicated their lives to protect us all from danger.

This is a day I will remember forever; I will always remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news.I am sure most of America feels the same.This is how it should be; our heroes have earned this for us.

Yet, for my family, it can never heal the wound or make up for our loss.It will never take away the tragedy of the knock at the door that revealed two Marines standing outside waiting to tell us the most heart-wrenching news a parent could hear, that our son Justin had been killed by an improvised explosive device. We feel his absence every moment of our lives and miss him without end. But, at the same time, it does bring a little smile when I think of how surely this week the gates of heaven were lined with all those who have suffered from bin Laden’s actions and there among them was Justin, smiling his beautiful, mischievous smile, with his hand on the button ready to send Osama bin Laden down to his final destination.

Fran Wilson is the mother of Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Wilson, who died in Afghanistan last year.

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