SHANKSVILLE (KDKA) – The news of Osama bin Laden’s death spread quickly after President Barack Obama’s announcement Sunday night.
In Shanksville, the mood was more solemn as people gathered to remember the heroes of Flight 93.
Maryann Gibbs visited the crash site of Flight 93 one day after the Sept. 11 attacks. On Monday, she returned to the scene and the experience was very different.
This time, the man who was responsible for those tragic events had been held accountable for his actions.
She hung American Flags at the scene with a few words written on them.
“The say, ‘Bin Laden is dead. God bless the USA,’” Gibbs said.
Flight 93 was en route to San Francisco from Newark, N.J. There were 44 people on board, who battled the four hijackers.
Many people thought this day would never come. However, after nearly 10 years of searching, a group of elite counter-terrorism troops ended the life of the world’s most wanted man.
“I just didn’t think they’d ever get him. I just didn’t think they would. It’s been so many years. So, I’m surprised and delighted and just happy,” Elizabeth Zilke said.
“It just makes you feel proud that they pursued him and after all these years, they finally got him,” Jeff Barry said.
Gordon Felt is the president of the Families of Flight 93. He said Bin Laden’s death is something they looked forward to, but it doesn’t end the pain.
“Well, it certainly is important news for us and the world. While, this news can’t ease our pain from the loss of our loved ones, it does bring a certain measure of comfort to us knowing that Bin Laden, the face of terrorism, the founder of al Qaeda, can no longer spread his evil throughout the world,” Felt said.
While Flight 93 would crash, one family member said that the passengers died on their terms, not Bin Laden’s.
Most of the people at the memorial site were quiet in their joy and reflection. But, one man was bold in his patriotic proclamation as he arrived at the scene with a sign and an American flag.
“Justice is served. We’re not done yet. We still have a lot of work to do. And be prepared, just in case they do strike us again. They may try, but these colors don’t run and I’m proud to be standing here on this soil today. This is great isn’t it? I love America,” Jeff Rey said.
Kenny Knacke’s brother, Louis, was on Flight 93. He has traveled around the country to talk about the sacrifice of his brother and others on board.
On Monday, he talked to KDKA-AM’s Larry and John about the death of Bin Laden.
“It’s kind of hard to put the feelings into words. I got a phone call last night probably around 7 p.m. letting me know that it was a possibility that he was captured or killed. I was sitting with my mom and what’s kind of weird is that I didn’t tell her. I kind of held it in until it was confirmed and then you go through many things…to joy, to thanking the military to relief,” Knacke said.
Listen to the full interview here:
CBS News: Osama bin Laden Is Dead
Tom Ridge Comments On Bin Laden’s Death
Full interview with Tom Ridge
Full interview with Gordon Felt, the President of the Families of Flight 93
Obama: Osama Bin Laden Is Dead
Details On Bin Laden’s Death