Stoughton Reacts to bin Laden’s Death
Town residents and officials respond to the death of Osama bin Laden and look back at the 9-11 attacks.
Americans had a sense of pride and patriotism when President Barack Obama announced to the nation Sunday night that U.S. Navy Seals and Special Forces had killed Osama Bin Ladin, the architect of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, and other acts of terrorism worldwide. Stoughton residents felt much the same.
“The American spirit has been reinvigorated,” Mike Pazyra, Stoughton’s Veterans’ Agent said.
“You see all these college students marching and the chants of ‘USA.” It felt like right after 9-11 when the whole country came together and it sort of felt that way this morning,” he continued.
Acting Fire Chief Mark Dolloff, then a Lieutenant with the SFD, and Executive Officer Robert Devine, then a juvenile detective with the SPD, were both on duty the morning of September 11, 2001.
“It’s one of those things where you’ll never forget where you were,” Devine said.
Both Dolloff and Devine remember watching on television the second hijacked plane fly into the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.
“It was shocking,” Dolloff said. “Then at that time you realized maybe we’re under attack.”
Devine, who was on duty at Stoughton High School, said he had to “instantly go into caretaker mode,” with students coming to the high school office worried about parents who had flown out of Logan Airport that morning. Two of the hijacked planes originated from Logan.
Devine, a U.S. military veteran, and at that time, a reserve in the Coast Guard, was activated and served at the Port Security Unit in Boston.
“With the 10-year anniversary [of the 9-11 attacks] coming up, it’s always in the back of your head that they hadn’t caught [bin Laden] yet,” Devine said.
The official announcement of bin Laden’s death came shortly after 11:30 p.m. Sunday night. Pazyra and Devine said they had already gone to bed and were surprised to hear the news when they woke up in the morning.
“Like most Americans today, I’m just proud of what [The U.S. Military] was able to accomplish,” Devine said.
Pazyra said he thinks this will help boost troop moral for those serving overseas. “This was the nexus of why we were over there,” he said. “This is it. We got the guy.”
Dolloff said the general consensus at the fire station was one of “relief.”
“Hopefully it will mark an end with our involvement in the ongoing battle in Afghanistan,” he said. “Maybe it will change things for the positive.”
Pazyra wonders if like after 9-11 there will be an increase in the number of American flags on display.
Whether the killing of bin Laden incites acts of terrorism is unknown. Devine reminded residents that if they see something suspicious, immediately call police.
Nearly ten years after the 9-11 attacks, there are small reminders of the consequences of that morning. The Stoughton Fire Department’s Engine 2 has a window placard on both the driver and passenger side that reads “In memory of 9-11” and above that is the shape of a fire helmet with the number 343, for the 343 FDNY firefighters that died on September 11, 2001.
Monday night, before the start of this year’s annual Town Meeting, the plan is to have the SFD’s newest fire engine, which is being delivered Monday, on display in the High School parking lot, with a large American flag flying from it.
This was planned well before the announcement of bin Laden’s death, but perhaps this patriotic display will now have added meaning.
Here are some additional comments from selected residents, who responded to Mark Snyder’s call for comments, via social media:
* Police Chief Paul Shastany: "It's a great day to be an American. I'm hopeful that people don't forget the tragic events of 9/11. It's our job as law enforcement officials to help prevent anything like it from happening again."
* Kevin Stetson: "Now we can all focus on the search for James "Whitey" Bulger."
* Barry Crimmins: "While this is certainly a great day for all Americans and our allies worldwide, I feel we need to be somewhat guarded in our enthusiasm, because I am sure his death, while absolutely justified and long overdue, will no doubt lead to ...more terrorism directed towards our country, and probably sooner rather than later. So while we all rejoice in this act of justice, let us all remember and be thankful for all our troops and their sacrifice. God Bless them and God Bless America!"
* Cindy Pazyra: "Today we should all feel that justice has been served. However, let us not make the mistake of thinking that this event brings peace or closure to the families of those who perished in the 9/11 attacks, or to the families of our brave service men and women who have given their lives in the fight against terrorism since 9/11. To say that this day brings any sort of peace to anyone who suffered a loss as a result of the tragedy that was September 11th is a mistake and an insult to our humanity."
* Scott Mellyn: "Well done SEAL team 6, way to go."
* Dale Appel: "This should not be a day for partisan politics, but should be a day we can all feel united as Americans. Bless the Special Operations Forces team for accomplishing their mission, bless our troops, and G-d bless our leaders and guide them to make the right decisions now and in the future so that America and the world can be a safe place to exist. Obviously, Osama's disciples are still here; therefore, much still has to be done to make the world a safer place with freedom for all."
* James Lindelof: "There are very few times in American history that we are truly UNITED as one Nation. They tend to be tragic events: a harbor in the Pacific; a Federal Building in Oklahoma; the death of a President; the twin towers. Even more rare is when UNITY achieved thru JUSTICE. Enjoy your day AMERICA. God Bless the USA."
* Heather McGinley: "Well done to the Navy Seals that went in and got the job done. Also, to all the intelligence agencies that put together the info we need to get Bin Laden. Also, kudos to President Bush who fought tirelessly in the War on terror and insisited that what was going on in Gitmo was justified. Today it was! Oh yeah and good job President Obama for giving the order."
Mike Pazyra said he is constantly looking for names and addresses of Stoughton men and women serving overseas so his department can send them care packages. If you know of any, he asks that you get in touch with him (781-341-1300, x220/221).