Published : Monday, 02 May 2011, 5:10 PM CDT
DALLAS - As details of Osama bin Laden’s death emerge, many North Texas residents are reacting with feelings of relief, victory, justice and a bit of fear.
Outside former President George Bush’s Dallas home there are signs thanking him for trying to run down bin Laden. A crowd braved the overnight rain to proclaim victory outside the house. Some brought American flags and chanted “USA” in triumph.
North Texans who have lost loved ones in the 911 attacks are still trying to digest the news. Many said they never felt certain that bin Laden was still alive so confirmation of his death at the hands of the United States military brings a sense of relief.
“He’s the face of evil. I know a lot of people don’t believe in true evil, but he was evil,” said Marty Fangman.
Fangman’s younger brother Robert was a 31-year-old flight attendant on Flight 175, the second plane that crashed into the World Trade Center.
Former flight attendant Joni Schippel felt compelled to visit the 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial in Grapevine. She finds justice in the death of bin Laden and believes for many people his death ends a decade of resentment.
“We’ve been hanging on to that over 10 years. He just never got what he deserved for what he did to us and our family and friends, people that we knew,” she said. “I’m glad he’s done. I don’t like to say that about anyone who has past but he was not a good person.”
At DFW Airport some of the families of troops departing and arriving for R & R said they’re cautiously optimistic about the news. Some fear that bin Laden’s death will prompt more violence overseas.
"I do think everything will be heightened security wise and maybe there's a chance for retaliation attacks," said Army Lt. Col. Steve Davis.
However, Army Spc. Wade Pantermuehl said the announcement of bin Laden's death during the 30 hour flight home was met with an erruption of cheers.
The Department of Homeland Security has not raised the terror threat level because of bin Laden’s death, but it has warned Americans traveling abroad to be extra careful.
Travelers and flight attendants at the airport said they are just concerned about what happens next.
“The threat’s still out there and it will always be out there because somebody is waiting right behind him to take over. But to have him out of there, the mastermind behind 9/11, I mean it’s just a relief for us,” said Anke Dawson, a flight attendant.
As Robert Jasinki waited for his plane he said bin Laden’s death brings closure for a lot of people. But the war is not over.
“I don’t think we should become complacent at all,” he said.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison applauded the efforts of President Barack Obama, former President Bush and the military for hunting down bin Laden.
“He is the spiritual leader of the terrorist networks that are operating against freedom throughout the world and having the spiritual leader taken out I hope will be a significant impact on the others that would try to do harm to innocent people anywhere in the world,” Hutchison said.
State Sen. Brian Birdwell , an Army lieutenant colonel who was severely injured in the Pentagon on 9/11, said bin Laden’s death was a matter of “personal justice” for him, his family, other victims and the entire community.
"I knew we would see the day the day he would die," Birdwell said. "The question was whether it was natural causes or ours. It was ours. That's good."
Even members of the Muslim community in North Texas said they feel a sense of joy and relief.
World Muslim Congress activist Mike Ghouse said he is so happy with the news he can hardly contain himself. He hopes it will foster an improved Muslim-American relationship.
“Muslims didn’t like the guy as much as other people didn’t because he has done more harm to Muslims and the religion than anyone else ever in the history of mankind,” Ghouse said.
He believes bin Laden’s burial at sea was a good move.
“If he was buried somewhere in the ground somebody would’ve made a shrine out of it which would have been even more dangerous. I am glad he went into the sea. There are no more symbols of him left,” Ghouse said.