Jason Fry on Osama Bin Laden

May, 2, 2011
5/02/11
10:33
AM ET
Abbott By Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
Archive
Jason Fry, baseball blogger at Faith and Fear in Flushing, worked across the street from the World Trade Center in 2001, and still lives in Brooklyn.

Last night he was watching baseball on ESPN when he heard news of Osama Bin Laden's demise, and was tempted to head out, to the part of town where he used to work, to celebrate with massing crowds.

But he didn't, reasoning, essentially, that doing what we do, living our normal and fairly happy lives, is the best revenge. So he went about his regular business, watched sports, did laundry and wrote an extraordinary must-read post that ends like this:
After 9/11 I wondered if I should leave New York. After Emily and I had a son 14 months later, I wondered that anew. Could I stand to live in the foremost terrorism target in the world? Was it insane to raise a child there? But we stayed. And almost against my will, I came to love New York in a way I never had before. Which leads me back to tonight.

Yes, part of me wanted to go to Ground Zero, to mark the occasion. And I smiled and nodded at the scenes of celebration there. But I decided not to go.

I thought of my son, not yet born on 9/11 and now sleeping safe and sound a room away, and said a silent but grateful thank-you to the brave men and women who had done so much to make it so. And then … I got back to watching the Mets game. I have a book deadline this week, so I organized some material for the final push there. There was Sunday laundry left to be done, so I kept the washer and dryer running through their cycles. But mostly I watched the game. I cheered on Pedro Beato and everybody’s new favorite Met Ronny Paulino and Taylor Buchholz and whooped when the Mets trooped off the mound victorious.

I’m glad that the Mets and Phillies kept playing, that the patriotic cheers were spontaneous, that there was no stoppage of the game for the president or anything else. The Mets and Phillies had a game to play, and they played it until there was a winner. People in the stands cheered for their team — men and women together at a sporting event, even the unveiled and unmarried, drinking beer and holding up signs and painting their chests and eating cheesesteaks and engaging in all sorts of foolishness. I cheered for my team at home. For the most part, I did what I do. For the most part, the people in the stands and on the field did the same.

When Osama Bin Laden murdered 3,000 people, it was a Tuesday morning on a warm late-summer day. Ten years later, I heard of his death on a pleasant spring night. I followed news of his demise via a technology that didn’t exist on 9/11, while my son, just just a vague imagining in September 2001, slept 10 feet away. Where the towers once stood, new towers are visible above the cityscape. Life has gone on in ways big and small, while this obscene murderous theocrat hid in caves and compounds, behind blast walls and barbed wire. He met his end on a Sunday night in America, during baseball season, with everything he sought to disrupt and ruin continuing without him — as it has for some time with him. Living as we have and as we wish and as we will is the best revenge.

Henry Abbott | email

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