It was Sunday, Sept. 10, 2001. Our family was at McCormick Railroad Park in Scottsdale for our daughter's 3rd birthday party. I remember that it was really hot that day. So hot that we let the kids play in an oscillating spray head hooked up to a hose. Grandpa was there too. He was turning 79 the next day... on 9/11. We awoke the next morning to an urgent phone call from Grandma asking us to turn on the TV... a plane had just crashed into one of the Twin Towers. It was the end of the innocence.
The bad guys had not only shaken our immediate sense of personal safety, they had also knocked the wind out of the sails of our already faltering economy. Remember the empty skies, the vacated stores, the eerie silence that enveloped our country for days, weeks? The sum of this unprovoked attack on our country proved far greater than the obvious. It also impacted our self-image. People were flat-out acting strange... dysfunctional. In fact, I suggest that the housing crisis and the subsequent Great Recession were by-products of these terrorist attacks. The economy never really began to recover until 2004. There was so much pent-up frustration on behalf of the general public to start making money again that greed simply ran unabated fueled by the desire to put 9/11 as far behind us as possible.
These killers had really put the hurt on us. We wanted them tracked down and killed. Problem was, who were the bad guys and where had they fled?
Almost 10 years later, after 6,500+ of our troops having died, thousands more injured, hundreds of thousands of civilians killed or injured and $1 trillion spent we still hadn't got to Osama Bin Laden. The bad guys were never Iraqis nor were they ever harbored in Iraq. They were holed up in Afghanistan/Pakistan from the get go.
Shortly after becoming president, Obama focused our military efforts on Afghanistan and between he and his CIA director, Leon Panetta, they put together a plan to capture Osama Bin Laden dead or alive. Clearly, the president, his staff and the military have done the "hard stuff" necessary on the ground to locate and bring to justice the most despised criminal in the world since Adolph Hitler. It's a great day to be an American. Thank you President Obama. The mission, indeed, has finally been accomplished. You make us proud.
• Jon Beydler is a 32-year Valley resident and the former mayor of Fountain Hills who now lives in Chandler