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Utahn who lost family on 9/11 stunned by bin Laden's death

By Nkoyo Iyamba | Posted - May 2, 2011 at 5:36 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utahn who lost loved ones during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, was stunned to hear of Osama bin Laden's death Sunday night.

I just thought he dug a hole somewhere and had hidden himself so well that he would never be found.

–Margaret Wahlstrom

"It was kind of surreal," said Margaret Wahlstrom, who lost both her mother-in-law, Mary Alice Wahlstrom of Kaysville, and sister-in-law, Carolyn from Los Angeles, when their plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

"It was one of those things I never thought would happen," she said. "I just thought he dug a hole somewhere and had hidden himself so well that he would never be found," she said.

Carson Howell lost his brother Brady when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. For him, bin Laden's death means a new chapter in his family's history.


"We're not celebrating his death, but we're relieved that he's not here to continue his propaganda of lies and hate, and hopefully other families won't be affected (by this) same type of terrorism," Howell said.

Wahlstrom has mixed feelings about bin Laden's death and is having a hard time describing her emotions. She hopes this will bring and end to the ideas and philosophy that the former terrorist leader stood for across the Middle East.

"I guess I wish it would have a huge difference on the future of what's going on in the Mideast, but... I don't know if it will," she said. "I'm sorry it took 10 years. I really believe if we had been able to find him sooner it would have had a bigger impact. But it's important too that we have resolved it at this point."

For Wahlstrom, it's not so much that Osama bin Laden's death should bring closure -- rather, it's a call to action to teach others love and tolerance for all people.

"I'm going to teach my children and my grandchildren how they should feel about other people and work so that this doesn't happen," she said.

Wahlstrom is trying to raise funds to build a 9/11 memorial in Utah to honor soldiers and those who lost their lives that day.

Wahlstrom feels it's important for the U.S. to continue to work with allies to put an end to bin Laden's philosophy.


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