al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden speaks to a selected group of reporters in mountains of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan Thursday, Dec. 24, 1998. The man accused of masterminding the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa says the U.S.-British airstrikes on Iraq make it a ``duty of Muslims to confront, fight and kill'' Americans and Britons. (AP Photo/Rahimullah Yousafzai)
Many people thought the day would never come when the man who sparked the war on terror would be found and killed. While some are celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden, some are still taking time to process the news. But one mother of a local soldier has mixed emotions.
"The United States has conducted an operation that has killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-qaeda."
Words from President Obama on Sunday night that sparked celebrations around the world. But in mid-Michigan, a local mother of a fallen soldier has a different reaction.
"For me, it's bittersweet. It doesn't bring my son back knowing that bin Laden's been killed."
Dawn Peterson's son, Jason Plite was the first mid-Michigan soldier killed in Afghanistan, back in 2003. His helicopter crashed during a mercy misson to save two Afghan children. Jason's service was something he believed in even after everything changed on September 11, 2001.
"He did share that, 'Mom, I didn't sign up for this war. I know it's my job and it will be my mission and I will follow through."
Plite's second tour to Afghanistan came earlier than expected because of the start of the war on terror, a war that Peterson is reminded of eight years later. While she has mixed emotions of bin Laden's death, she is relived for the closure that it brings to so many people.
"I don't particularly feel a sense of ease or comfort or safety. I feel that letting our guard down is not an outcome of this completion of finding bin Laden."
The grief gets manageable, surrounded by pictures, memorabilia and a flag pole planted in her front yard, but that day, his death and 9/11 are forever burned in her mind.
"You never forget. There's not a second in the day that goes by that you're not thinking about what you've lost and missed."
Every April there is a scholarship dinner in memory of Jason Plite. This year three students were awarded money to pursue passions that were similar to Jason's. If you would like to contribute to the memorial fund or for more information, click on the link below.