OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma residents who lost relatives in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq reacted with satisfaction Monday to the death of Osama bin Laden, and one mother said it was the answer to her prayers.
Pat Moss of Sperry lost her son, Naval Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Moss, when one of four hijacked planes crashed into the Pentagon. Moss said she was preparing for bed Sunday night when her daughter called and told her to turn on the television. She was watching when President Barack Obama announced U.S. servicemen had killed the al-Qaida leader responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
"I have never thanked God for a death," Moss said, "but I just thanked God for answering my prayers, and that he's no longer on earth to put other families (through) what we've been through."
Oklahoma state Sen. Andrew Rice, whose brother David Rice died when another plane hit the World Trade Center's south tower, said he's content, satisfied and somewhat surprised by the news of bin Laden's death.
"It was a bit surreal, it's been so long," he said. "A part of me never anticipated he ever would be found by U.S. Forces."
Rice said he thought there "could have been some monumental symbolism" in catching bin Laden and putting him on trial, but he was satisfied "that his freedom has ended."
"Either way, killed or taken alive, he's been held accountable," he said.
Five other former Oklahoma residents also died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Former Edmond resident Wayne Davis, former Tulsa resident Jayesh "Jay" Shah and former Oklahoma City resident David Berry were killed at the World Trade Center, while U.S. Army Maj. Ron Milam, a Muskogee native, and Army Spc. Chin Sun Pak "Sunny" Wells of Lawton died at the Pentagon.
Brett Farley of Edmond lost his father, 57-year-old Naval reservist Steven Farley, in a June 2008 bombing in Sadr City, Iraq. He said he felt a sense of vindication and pride that Navy Seals helped kill bin Laden.
"A Navy Seal should never have to buy a beer for himself again in this country," Farley said.
Republican Gov. Mary Fallin released a statement saying bin Laden's death was a victory in the war on terror.
"Our military men and women and our intelligence officers have once again made the world a safer place," she said. "It is also, I hope, a cause for relief and for closure among the many men and women who lost loved ones in the September 11th attacks."
But James Cook, 52, of Perkins, a graduate student in the University of Oklahoma's Native American Studies Program, said that although bin Laden is dead, others who share his beliefs will carry on.
"We're still faced with the problem of this philosophy that he espoused, that he promoted, that he cultivated," Cook said. "We still have a problem at hand."
He said he would have preferred to see bin Laden taken alive.
"I'd like to have seen a trial. I think the world should have seen an execution," Cook said.
Bailey Perkins grew up in Lawton, where Fort Still is located, and said she's had many friends deployed overseas with the military, including an acquaintance from church who died in Iraq in 2006.
The 21-year-old Oklahoma City University junior said she feels justice has finally been served, but she's not going to delight in bin Laden's death.
"I'm not going to say 'woohoo' Osama's dead, because a sin is a sin in the eyes of God," she said. "So I can't judge him regardless of how ridiculous, disturbing and disgusting his acts were and how evil he was."
Sheryl Siddiqui, spokeswoman for the Islamic Council of Oklahoma, said bin Laden was a mass murderer and the mainstream Muslim community has been waiting for years for someone to stop him.
"As long as Osama bin Laden was out free, or had the impression of being out free, I think everyone still felt that ominous feeling that things could happen again and could continue to happen," she said. But she added, al-Qaida is still a threat. "Having Osama bin Laden out there has been a strain on every Muslim. To take out the leader of this group of terrorists is basically the first step."
Associated Press writers Sean Murphy, Ken Miller and Murray Evans contributed to this report.