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Perham students react to death of Osama bin Laden

Late in the night of May 1, the world heard the news from President Barack Obama that Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, had been killed by U.S. forces.

In Robb Moser's World History class, sophomores Ciarrin Covington, Seth Stafki, Mark Huebsch and Brian Howey discussed where they were on 9/11, and what bin Laden's death meant to them.

The students were in first grade in 2001, they said, and didn't really understand much about what was going on when they were sent outside for a special recess so the teachers could have a meeting.

"They didn't really tell us much during the day about what was happening," Huebsch said.

"We had no idea what was going on," Stafki added. "I remember that teachers were watching TV a lot and crying."

Covington said that she remembered the day well because her parents called her at one point to tell her that an aunt who lived in New York was OK.

Teachers kept TVs on during the day, and the students said that they remembered watching with confusion.

"I remember thinking, why would anyone do that?" Huebsch said.

"It was hard to understand what was happening," Stafki said.

Huebsch said that, as sophomores, their class is probably the youngest students to remember 9/11 and where they were that day, and for whom the death of bin Laden would mean much.

"Anybody younger than us probably won't remember 9/11," he added. "We're maybe the youngest people to remember it."

Since then, the students have learned more about that confusing day 10 years ago.

"We have a better grasp on what's going on now than we did then," Howey said.

The students have grown up in a world much different than students 10 years ago, they said.

"We've only known war," Howey said.

"It's kind of been an era of fear, these last 10 years," Stafki said.

"The fighting that's been going on is just pretty normal to us," Covington added.

The students weren't sure, then, what exactly bin Laden's death means to them. It's a big victory for the U.S., they said, but it also might mean more for people who were more directly affected by 9/11.

Stafki said bin Laden's death felt more like a "consolation prize."

"Nothing's changing, nothing's really over now," he said.

Howey agreed, adding that the war on terror might "be lessened, but I don't think it's over because of this."