- (Photo: Reuters / Brendan McDermid)
Days after announcing the death of Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama laid a wreath at ground zero in New York City on Thursday in remembrance of the victims of 9/11.
"What happened on Sunday, because of the courage of our military and the outstanding work of our intelligence, sent a message around the world, but also sent a message here back home that when we say we will never forget, we mean what we say," he said.
Bin Laden was killed Sunday in a compound he was living in for some five years in Abbottabad, Pakistan. U.S. Navy SEALs descended on the compound in helicopters and raided the hideout, killing five people.
The al-Qaida leader's death marked a victory for the U.S. which has been reeling from the 2001 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people and that bin Laden claimed responsibility for. The World Trade Center in New York City that was destroyed in the attacks is still being rebuilt.
While the world's most wanted terrorist is dead, many are hesitant to breathe a full sigh of relief, knowing that the war on terror isn't over.
"I'm still praying," said Brother Andrew, founder of persecution watchdog Open Doors, in a statement. "There are other leaders [of al-Qaida] who are even more dangerous. It's a movement."
Brother Andrew has called for prayers for those who have been affected by violence caused by al-Qaida as news of bin Laden's death may trigger traumas and sad memories again.
Also acknowledging the pain felt by families of 9/11 victims, Obama encouraged them Thursday, by saying that he was committed to making sure the perpetrators of "that horrible act" received justice.
"[I]t's some comfort, I hope, to all of you to know that when those guys took those extraordinary risks going into Pakistan, that they were doing it in part because of the sacrifices that were made in the States," he said. "They were doing it in the name of your brothers that were lost."
After taking office two years ago, Obama directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, "to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al-Qaida."
After gaining a possible lead to the whereabouts of the terrorist in August, Obama said they had enough intelligence by the last week of April to take action.
Out of the five persons killed, only one was armed, new reports say. Bin Laden also wasn't armed but U.S. officials say he had an AK-47 in his room when the SEALs shot him.
While celebrating the fact that justice has been served, North Carolina Pastor J.D. Greear said he is aching for the soul of bin Laden and "all of his misguided followers."
Looking at the events that transpired through the lens of the Gospel, Greear wrote in his blog, "Jesus said to love our enemies, and died for us when we were His enemies. Osama bin Laden’s passion was 'serve God and kill.' Jesus’ passion was 'serve God and die.' One took life; the other laid down His life.
"When we hate our enemies, we are more like Osama than we are Jesus. That’s why Paul told the Ephesians (4:32) to be kind and tenderhearted toward others for Christ’s sake, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us."
One big regret the pastor has is that he did not pray for bin Laden more while he was alive.
He asked his church – Summit Church – to pray that God will bring bin Laden's followers to 'the repentance and knowledge of the salvation that is in Jesus."