Locals React to Death of Bin Laden
Sister of 9/11 victim happy, but says it doesn't bring closure
The death of Osama bin Laden was on residents' minds Monday, especially the family members of those lost to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Corinne Krachtus, who lost her sister Daphne Pouletsos of Westwood nearly 10 years ago when the World Trade Center towers fell, said, "We were very happy to hear it. Especially that it was up close and personal instead of a bomb."
Pouletsos worked for Aon Corp. in the towers at the time of her death. Krachtus, who also lives in Westwood, said bin Laden's death doesn't bring closure and the family keeps missing her and wonders what it would be like if she were still alive.
At the time of the attacks, Krachtus said she was too grief stricken to even think about taking revenge. "It was almost easier for people that didn't lose someone to see it from a patriotic angle," she said. "We didn't have that luxury."
Krachtus said her father, who died last year, "would've really enjoyed hearing this."
Reaction from residents was mixed from elation to concern that the news of bin Laden's death could produce more violence.
"I think our military did a great job," said Michael Lampadarios of Westwood. "The rest of the world knows we can do these things and that's good."
Westwood resident Chris Hose said he feels safer now that bin Laden is gone, though he added, "Let's not be dancing in the streets."
Bill Sforza of Emerson who was walking through Westwood Monday morning said, "It's more symbolic than anything."
Mark Hayward of Westwood said he wanted to see how the rest of the world would react. "I remember after 9/11 other parts of the world were celebrating that the towers went down," he said. "I'm wondering what they're thinking now."
While no one said they were sad bin Laden is dead, some said they are concerned his death might actually increase the violence.
"Personally, I think he's more dangerous dead than alive," said Les Eslinger of Washington Township. "He's a martyr to the wrong people."
Westwood Mayor John Birkner Jr. said, "It's a demonstration of American resolve to see justice prevail in this case. Even though bin Laden has been killed, I think the mission is far from accomplished for eradicating terrorists throughout the world."
Erica Galligher of Westwood said she didn't feel safer, but she is "happy about it." She added that his death brings some relief to the country and the 9/11 victims' families.
Westwood has a 9/11 memorial in Veterans' Park dedicated to four residents who died when the World Trade Center towers fell: Daphne Pouletsos, Michael Thomas Wholey, Kalyan Kumar Sarkar and Francis S. Riccardelli. Wholey was a Port Authority police officer, Sarkar worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Ricardelli was the manager of vertical transportation at the trade center complex for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. According to official lists, James A. Romito of Westwood, the chief of the Port Authority Police Department, also died 9/11.
Tom Constantine of Westwood, who has a personal connection to 9/11, said, "It's good news and sad news." His daughter, who went to Trinity School in the towers and was 4 years old at the time, went missing for six hours on 9/11 before being reunited with her family.
In Bergen County, 147 people died on 9/11. Statewide, more than 650 residents perished.