Passengers and personnel at LAX react to Osama bin Laden's death

Mercer 17570

Brian Watt/KPCC

Brian and Courtney Turner at Los Angeles International Airport, on Sunday, May 1, 2011, shortly after learning of Osama bin Laden's death.

When President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden, KPCC’s Brian Watt was at Los Angeles International Airport. He spoke with people at Tom Bradley International Terminal.

"Bin Laden is dead!" "Who killed him?" "Oh, they finally got him. Praise the Lord."

Three employees of a private airport security company were on break when they saw the news on the TV screens at the Daily Grill.

"We’ve been waiting on this since the fourth grade," one of the young women said.

They stood near 52-year-old Randy Bane, an evangelist from Western North Carolina. He called Osama bin Laden a root of terrorism and thanked God for the determination of the U.S. military.

Bane travels abroad a lot. This time, he was flying to Sydney, Australia and on to Papua New Guinea.

"When any enemy is slain, his friends are gonna be angry and they’re gonna retaliate," Bane said. "We’ll all be on our guard for that."

A few minutes later, 29-year old Army veteran Brian Turner stopped and stared at the TV screens. What he saw validated a difficult part of his life.

"I was in Iraq during the invasion, and I was in Kirkuk, Northern Iraq, so I gotta say that I just feel wonderful," he said with a smile. "I think I’m about to go get a scotch and water."

His wife Courtney laughed with him. The two began dating shortly after his return from Iraq and now live in Rancho Cucamonga. She’s a government major at University of Redlands and was about to fly to Washington, D.C.

"I honestly feel closure to the senseless acts of 9/11," she said. "It’s just one of those moments where I remember watching that on the screen and just the shock I had and this finally brings it, like, it feels like to an end, at least for now. "

Brian Turner credits his wife with helping him through some post-traumatic stress after Iraq. He was able to finish college at Cal Poly Pomona and now works in a veterans hospital in Loma Linda.

More in U.S. / World


blog comments powered by Disqus