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Updated at 8:35 p.m., Tuesday, May 3.


Harford County, which has lost a number of its sons and daughters to terrorist attacks — and more to avenging them in the ensuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, reacted positively Monday to the death of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

Bin Laden was killed Sunday in a fight with U.S. forces in a compound in Pakistan where he had been secretly living, President Barrack Obama announced on national television Sunday evening.

There weren't joyful demonstrations in Harford County's streets Monday, but many people in conversations reflected with satisfaction at the death of a man whose activities in many ways reordered life as we know it in the United States.

Just because bin Laden is dead, however, doesn't mean terrorism activity will cease, a former Harford resident whose son was a victim of Libyan terrorists warned Monday.

"It may make [other terrorism leaders] a little more nervous, but I don't think it will change attitudes or actions," George Williams said Monday. "Was Hitler worried Mussolini was hung upside down? These people are animals, they're not like us. And by these people, I mean terrorists."

Williams' son, George Watterson Williams, was a 24-year-old first lieutenant in the Army who was on his way home for Christmas from his station in West Germany when his plane, Pan Am Flight 103,  exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988.

The bombing, which killed everyone on the jumbo jet and several people on the ground, was among the first contemporary attacks against U.S. citizens by Muslim terrorists.

Williams said he's happy bin Laden is dead.

"Of course I'm elated. The man was rotten to the core. He deserved to be killed long ago," Williams, who lived in Joppatowne at the time of his son's death, but moved to Oak Crest retirement community in Parkville a few years ago, said. "He's the mastermind of many terror attacks."

Harford County State Sen. Nancy Jacobs, whose friend Pamela Maggitti lost her husband in the Sept. 11 attacks, said she hopes bin Laden's death brings closure.

Pamela Maggitti's husband, Joseph, was the only Harford County resident killed in the New York attack.

"I hope that this brings closure to a lot of the families who had family members who were victims of that tragedy," Jacobs said.

She said while she hasn't talked to the Maggitti family in some time, she feels sure that if they haven't forgiven bin Laden already, they have tried.

"My hope is that these families get closure and it allows them to keep on keeping on with their lives knowing the right thing was done," Jacobs said of Bin Laden's killing.

Bin Laden's death comes almost four months before the United States would have marked the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon carried out by bin Laden's radical Muslim al-Qaida organization and under his direction

Those attacks killed 2,819 people in New York, Virginia and in rural Pennsylvania where one of the airliners hijacked by al-Qaida operatives crashed after its passengers fought with the hijackers.

People who either lived in Harford County or had family ties to the county were killed at all three places.

Mr. Maggitti was among the more than 2,000 killed when two hijacked airlines crashed into each of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.

Army Sgt. Willie Troy, a resident of Aberdeen Proving Ground on assignment at Department of Defense headquarters outside Washington, D.C., was killed when another hijacked airliner crashed into the Pentagon.

Sgt. Troy's wife moved back to her husband's native North Carolina a few months after his death.

In an interview a year after the 9/11 attack, Sgt. Troy's daughter ReNee said the family had taken strength from the support they received from neighbors and friends in both Aberdeen and in North Carolina.

She also said she was trying not to be bitter about her father's death, preferring to recall his words that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s hero.”

Deborah Jacobs Welsh, a veteran flight attendant who lived in New York and whose husband had grown up in Harford County, was killed in the plane crash in Pennsylvania.

A year earlier, in what many said was an al-Qaida rehearsal for 9/11, terrorists drove an explosive-laden boat into the USS Cole as the Navy destroyer was refueling in Yemen. Among those killed was 19-year-old Joshua Parlett, from the Churchville area, an engineman on the ship.

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