Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Thoughts upon the death of Osama bin Laden May 2, 2011

AS I CLIPPED freshly-washed laundry onto the clothesline with 35-degree temperatures nipping my fingers under a heavy sky this morning, I contemplated what I would write here about Osama bin Laden. I could not not write something.

But what could I, an average American in a mid-sized Minnesota community, write about the death of this al-Qaida leader, this terrorist, this murderer, this most-wanted fugitive, one of the most-hated men in the world?

What profound words could I pull together that would express my gratitude to the U.S. intelligence community and military?

What could I say to those who lost loved ones in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, in the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks?

I could write nothing that hasn’t been spoken, written or thought.

And then I remembered a photo I took about a week ago of a billboard while traveling along Interstate 90 east of La Crosse, Wisconsin. I have no idea who posted the patriotic message.

But today, for me, this image summarizes how I feel as an American, as my country, the United States of America, stands, united and free.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling