“I picked up my son’s picture and hugged it and cried a little, and told him he had been avenged,” Etterling said.
Etterling’s son Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Etterling, 22, of Wheelersburg was killed Jan. 26, 2005, while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Jonathan Etterling died when a CH-53E helicopter crashed near Rutbah, Iraq. Twenty-nine Marines and one Sailor were killed in that crash.
“I said justice had been done, and I slept like a baby that night — the first time in years,” Etterling said. “I hate that the man (Bin Laden) could hurt that many people, and that he can make a Christian feel glad that somebody is dead. But we were really pleased with the news. I hate to say that, but it’s the truth.”
What does Bin Laden’s death mean to parents around the world who have children in harm’s way in war zones?
“To the many people we’ve met over the last few years that lost children and still have people in the service, the military community, I’m sure is very very happy,” Etterling said. “I grew up watching Pearl Harbor footage over the years and I couldn’t quite grasp it. I knew it was a horrible event, but I didn’t live it. But when the towers went down on 9/11, wow, it came home — 3,000 people dead. And this man orchestrated it. I’m glad he wasn’t brought back for a trial. I’m glad that justice was swift and summarily and he’s gone to answer his own questions with the maker.”
Etterling summed up the way he and his wife, Kay, felt when the news was first released.
“I know there have been mixed reactions in the papers and everything else about how we should feel,” Etterling said. “And I can just tell you we’re glad.”
FRANK LEWIS may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232, or email@example.com.