I made my way to the wheel house last night to give the Captain our daily fuel burned figures.
It was 11pm.
I do this every day. Today we used 2400 gal as we towed our barge south, off the Jersey coast.
The bridge was dark, I pulled up a chair to chat a few minutes, about nothing, with Captain Jack.
As we sat looking out the window, listening to CNN radio. Through the white noise that is ever present from the VHF radios, we heard Wolf Blitzer say something about Osama Bin Laden being dead.
Jack dashed to the radio to turn up the volume.
"I repeat," said Wolf, "Osama Bin Laden is dead." We were dumb struck as we listened for the next 20 minutes about the details.
Over the next few minutes, 2 other crew members arrived and we told them the news, getting the reaction you would expect.
When President Obama started to address the nation and the world, the 4 of us sat in silence staring straight ahead, each of us with our own thoughts.
A strange thing happened. There was no talk of politics. No Obama bashing, no wise remarks about his birth certificate.
Just silence, as we heard the President explain how this monster of a man, who murdered over 3000 innocent people in my country and thousands more around the world, would be no more.
There were no Republicans or Democrats in the wheel house last night.
Just Americans, with our own thoughts of that terrible day known now only as 9/11.
CNN later spoke of the celebrations going on in the streets. Celebrating the killing of a man initially made me a bit uncomfortable, but I quickly came to grips with it as I pictured again, in my mind, those innocent terrified people jumping from the top of the burning Twin Towers to what they had to know was a certain death.
I'm sure all those people who have been affected by those who lost their lives at the orders of Osama Bin Laden, don't have a problem with him being killed.
I'm sure they feel some relief, some closure to a terrible chapter in all our lives.
Maybe we all feel a bit of relief.
Just let me say this. THE NAVY SEALS ROCK!