Then today, I listened to This American Life. At about the 8:30 mark in episode 434, a story unfolds about a boisterous and patriotic celebration over the bin Laden announcement at State College Pennsylvania.
One of the students, 20-year-old Lexi, spoke about the night of May 1, 2011 and the ten years that led up to it. She talked about being so afraid after 911. She was only 11 and was terrified by planes and flying for years.
As her interviewer points out, Lexi's entire cognizant life has unfurled under the cloud of war and terrorism. For Lexi's generation, the bogeyman was real.
"We all kind of carried that fear with us," says Lexi.
She talked about how bin Laden's death--while not exactly an endpoint--was an indicator that there finally could be an end. Hence the celebrations.
So Lexi, I apologize. I rushed to judgement. I didn't understand your point of view and how sweet and intoxicating the faintest scent of peace must be when you're just 20 years old and almost all you've known is an America held captive by a shadowy fear.
And I thank you, Lexi, because now I understand the chanting.
* * *