Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Memorial Day 2011

For most of my life, I was like most people: I knew what Memorial Day stood for, but I didn't really stop to think about what it truly meant. That changed after I went to Iraq in 2004 as a civil-affairs soldier with the Army Reserves. When you serve with people who don't come home, Memorial Day means something different.

Memorial Day is not about politics. Whatever your feelings about current or former wars, remember this: All military personnel take an oath. The fallen swore and gave their lives honoring a promise:

"I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the uniform code of military justice. So help me God."

The soldiers who gave Uncle Sam a blank check with their lives offered to answer our nation's call to arms. The military does not decide to go to war; it just answers the call of our nation. And the numbers of those who have died answering that call continue to rise: 4,454 and counting in Iraq; 1,586 and counting in Afghanistan; 58,220 in Vietnam; 36,574 in Korea; 405,399 in World War II. Since 1775, in fact, more than 1.3 million military personnel (and counting) have given their lives for this nation.

It's a huge number, but, then, Memorial Day is not about the numbers. It's about the individual human being: the American, the man, the woman, the father, the brother, the spouse, the friend, the son, the uncle and the daughter who answered the call of our nation to deploy into violence, into war.

It's about people such as Upper Darby High School graduate Lt. Col. Mark Patrick Phelan, 47, from Pennsylvania, a father, uncle, husband and brother who went to Iraq with the 416th Civil Affairs Battalion (Norristown) to win the "hearts and minds" of Iraqis. His remains now lie in Arlington National Cemetery, with fellow heroes, such as Cpl. Michael Crescenz, of Philadelphia, a Vietnam veteran who received the Medal of Honor. Lt. Col. Phelan was an Army reservist killed by a "homicide bomber" who rammed his explosives-filled car into the Humvee in which Phelan was riding.

Memorial Day is about Americans like infantry paratrooper Robert Dembowski Jr., 20, a graduate of Pennsylvania's Council Rock High, who was killed in Baghdad in a small-arms attack. It's about Roger Haller, 49, a Maryland National Guard command sergeant-major, whose helicopter was shot down in Iraq and who now rests in Arlington. It's about Nicole Frye, 19, a Civil Affairs soldier from Wisconsin, who was killed in Iraq by an IED as she drove an unarmored Humvee that had a plastic tarp for a door.

Memorial Day is for Bradli Coleman, 19, of Ford City, Pa., who was killed by a mortar as he slept on his bunk in Mosul, Iraq, after working the night shift in Task Force Olympia headquarters. Memorial Day is about Marine Maj. John Spahr, 42, a former Philadelphia All-Catholic quarterback at Saint Joseph's Prep, whose F18 went down in Iraq. Memorial Day is about Marine John Basilone, killed in the Pacific during World War II. Memorial Day is to remember the sacrifice of Lee Hartel, killed in Korea. It is about Patrick Ward, 21, a helicopter machine-gunner from Fairmount who did not return from Vietnam.

Every day is Memorial Day for the fallen's families, friends and comrades-in-arms. Look into the eyes of Robert Dembowski Sr., or those of a Gold Star Mother, and you will see the immeasurable price that some pay for our freedoms.

Memorial Day is about the infinite void that each deceased hero leaves. It's about the families and friends of Phelan, Crescenz, Dembowski, Frye, Spahr, Haller, Coleman, Basilone, Hartel, Ward and countless others, about their everyday pain as they continue through life even as their loved ones become names on marble monuments.

As you enjoy your federal holiday, I urge you to include in your festivities a time to remember what Memorial Day truly means: a time to stop, put down your barbecue tongs and join the families and comrades-in-arms, and think, if even just for a short time, about the sacrifice signified by the numbers on the walls.

I urge you to take your children to a ceremony honoring those who have fallen. Take them to a Memorial Day parade. Put a flag on your lawn. Help a veterans' group. Better yet, help a "survivors' group." Attend one of the many services throughout the region honoring our war dead.

The Vietnam memorial honors the fallen. The Korean memorial also honors who fell. But, remember, these are not just numbers or names on a wall. They are your fellow citizens, who died in your name. Keep their memory alive.

Check out article at Fox News.

For more information, be sure to check out the Memorial Day Wiki


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Indy 500’s 100th Anniversary!

Indianapolis 500 Celebrates 100 Years!

US Postage Stamp Celebrates 100 Years of the Indianapolis 500!

Indianapolis 500 Celebrates 100 Years!

Indianapolis 500 Celebrates 100 Years!

Indianapolis 500 Celebrates 100 Years!

Indianapolis 500 Celebrates 100 Years!

Indianapolis 500 Celebrates 100 Years!

Indianapolis 500 Celebrates 100 Years!

Six years before the Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted its first 500-mile race in 1911, Carl G. Fisher, a local businessman, envisioned a flat track ideal for testing horseless carriages made around the city. The 2.5-mile oval was also ideal for racing, of course.

The automobile industry migrated from Indianapolis, but the Indianapolis 500 became a Memorial Day weekend tradition. With the 100th anniversary race set for May 29, speedway officials have revived a competition that likely would please Mr. Fisher, who died in 1939.

The Hulman Indy Challenge, held from 1989 to 1996, will be renewed to promote the development of automotive technology through motor sports. The competition is named after Anton Hulman, who, with his purchase of the speedway in 1945, rescued the Brickyard from four years of neglect brought about by World War II.

“We recognize the landscape is changing for the development of the automobile, and we are eager to provide the ultimate showcase for those wanting to prove their products in on-track competition,” Jeff Belskus, president and chief executive of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said in a news release.

The Hulman Indy Challenge is not a freestanding event like the Indy 500, Brickyard 400 or the MotoGP races held at the speedway. When manufacturers want to test various parameters of their vehicles under sanction, the speedway will work with them to set a date for their attempts.

Paul Kelly, a speedway spokesman, said that the track planned to also court manufacturers of alternative-energy vehicles. The tests will not be confined to 24-hour endurance runs, as they have in the past. The parameters will be decided this summer.

In the meantime, electric and solar-power cars from colleges will compete in an Emerging Tech Day at the speedway on Saturday afternoon, a day before the Indianapolis 500. Major manufacturers will present a giant ride-and-drive event with a variety of electric vehicles. Admission is free.

Early adopters of electric vehicles are also in luck, as they are eligible to take a lap around the track’s oval on Saturday. Mandatory preregistration can be completed on the speedway's website.

Check out article at the NY Times Wheels Blog.

Should be a great race!

Check out Celebrating the Indy 500’s 100th Anniversary: 100 Most Interesting Facts, Milestones, and More - Feature .

Be sure to check out the Official Indianapolis Motor Speedway Website.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Flood Chasing Wildlife Out of Swamps

Deer Fleeing Floodwaters - May 2011

Deer Fleeing Floodwaters - May 2011

Deer Fleeing Floodwaters - May 2011

Deer Fleeing Floodwaters - May 2011

Opossum Fleeing Floodwaters - May 2011

Deer Rescued from Floodwaters - May 2011

Gator Fleeing Floodwaters in Metairie Shot - May 2011

Floodwaters Rise on Hwy 10 Sign - May 2011

Morganza Floodway - May 18, 2011

Morganza Floodway - May 18, 2011

Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – May 23, 2011

Gov. Bobby Jindal said Tuesday that officials are warning residents to be on the lookout for wildlife fleeing floodwaters.

The governor said four bears have been seen in areas around the rising water, and that state officials anticipate an increase in snake bites as animals move to higher ground.

Jindal said the risk of encountering snakes will be elevated while water is high and even after water levels begin to drop.

"After the water recedes, pay attention to local officials about advisories concerning snakes and other dangers that can be left behind," Jindal said.

Louisiana swamps are filled with snakes. Many are not poisonous and don't require antivenin, an antidote for bites from venomous species.

The governor said state health and poison control officials are working with hospitals in affected areas to ensure that each facility has 12 vials of the antivenin CroFab.

That treatment works to counteract the effects of venom from all of Louisiana's native snakes, except bites from the relatively rare coral snake, which requires a different antivenin.

Swampy south Louisiana is home to several kinds of poisonous snakes, including copperheads, rattlesnakes, coral snakes and water moccasins.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says 18 deer and a coyote have been seem on the Morganza spillway levee. Deer have been spotted emerging exhausted from the water and running into livestock fences.

"Wildlife officials caution residents to leave wildlife alone so they can recover and they don't panic, which lessens their chances for survival," said Jindal.

The Morganza spillway northwest of Baton Rouge was opened on Saturday, pouring Mississippi River water into wildlife-heavy wetlands of the Atchafalaya River basin.

Farther south, the Bonnet Carre spillway about 30 miles upriver from New Orleans was opened last week, sending river water into Lake Pontchartrain.

The bears are most likely a black bear subspecies that was put on the endangered species list in 1992.

Others swamp dwellers likely on the move are alligators — a 10-footer was shot near a suburban New Orleans levee over the weekend — nutria, opossums and raccoons.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

Too bad it's not deer season... these pics are making me hungry!!!

Check out these interesting links:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

LSU Chancellor Martin Remarks on LSU Flag Protest

LSU Flag Burning Protest - May 11, 2011

LSU Flag Burning Protest - May 11, 2011

LSU Flag Burning Protest - May 11, 2011

LSU Flag Burning Protest - May 11, 2011

LSU Flag Burning Protest - May 11, 2011

LSU Chancellor Michael Martin released a new statement during the weekend to clarify that he does not support the obscenities and objects thrown at a graduate student who had originally planned to burn an American flag last week on campus.

LSU graduate student Benjamin Haas planned to burn an American flag by the Parade Ground to promote his First Amendment rights, but instead decided to read a statement promoting peace and the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Haas also was supporting the rights of another student arrested two weeks ago for stealing and burning the flag at the LSU War Memorial.

But Haas was met with nearly 1,000 counterprotesters, some of whom threw water balloons and bottles at him while chanting “U-S-A” and “Go to hell hippie, go to hell.”

Police had to intervene and direct Haas to safety before he could read his statement.

Later that day, LSU released a news release about the events that did not mention the foul language, water balloons and more directed at Haas.

That release included the comment from Martin, “I also thought today brought out a wonderful display of patriotism among the students conducting the counter-protest.”

The online arts blog, responded by selling “Civil Discourse Kits” of water balloons and bottles on eBay. The online posting had the added message, “If you want to let Mr. Martin know how you feel about him and thank him for redefining what is meant by patriotism and civil discourse, we urge you to call him …”

There also was a petition started at criticizing Martin and LSU’s media relations staff, arguing in part, “LSU’s Chancellor did nothing to denounce the violent mob — even praising the ‘patriotism’ of the ‘counter-protest.’”

However, Martin clarified in his updated statement, “I do not condone the behavior of that portion of the crowd who … resorted to verbal threats and physical actions against the student while and after he tried to read his statement.”

Martin also stated, “Let me make these points clear: I do not condone the burning of the flag, but I defend the right for someone to express their freedom of speech by doing so. I applaud the many who responded with great passion to speak up for what their flag represents, and that was the purpose of the inspiring patriotic counter-protest that was organized …”

The organized counter-protest that continued after Haas’ departure included the pledge of allegiance and the singing of the national anthem.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

Thank you Chancellor Martin! First off, I'm no flag burner and I think Haas is an idiot extremist. However, everyone is condemning him for exercising his rights via a peaceful protest (with a permit) - and he never even brought a flag with him to burn!!! Instead of being allowed to speak, he was bullied and pelted. Whether you agree with him or not is not the point; intolerance should NEVER be acceptable in this country. If everyone would have calmed down and listened to what he had to say, they would have heard this:

Funny Facebook said that there were only going to be 64 of you. I initially began this flag burning protest to define due process for students and suspected terrorists alike, to call on LSU and universities across the country to defend basic human rights and avoid putting students into the criminal justice system when it can be taken care of internally.

Solidarity means standing with those who are treated as guilty until proven innocent, instead of the other way around. That's what freedom is, standing with those who express their constitutional rights in ways that may be unpopular, especially the accused and the marginalized no matter the consequences.

In the name of peace, there will be no flag burning today. This country and the flag that flies over it stands for freedom, democracy, love, peace and the ability to question our government.

I initially began this flag-burning protest to defend due process for students and suspected terrorists alike; to call on LSU and universities across the country to defend basic human rights and avoid putting students into the criminal justice system when it can taken care of internally.But today, it feels like it's just about hate and violence, I have received more than 100 threats on my life and on the lives of those I care about. but I also received numerous calls of support from those who agreed with me, military veterans, and even those who said they disagreed with the method I proposed but wanted to show me their support, and for that I am thankful.

We can be better than this. We may disagree on what forms of dissent are appropriate and what the proper forums are to voice them, but the important thing is that we come together and defend the right to dissent at all, especially when this country has asserted its ability to declare anyone an enemy who has a different opinion than the majority.

I feel what is missing most from the United States is a sense of community, love, and acceptance of the differences we may have about issues in the world. If I had one wish for today, it would be to make the world a more peaceful place.


-Benjamin Haas, communication studies graduate student

Source: The Daily Reveille

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Both Louisiana Flood Control Systems Unlocked!

Morganza Floodway Open - May 14, 2011

 Morganza Floodway Before Opening - May 13, 2011

Morganza Floodway Open - May 14, 2011

Morganza Floodway Open - May 14, 2011

Morganza Floodway Map - May 14, 2011

Mississippi River Floodway Map

Bonnet Carre Spillway Before Opening – May 4, 2011

Bonnet Carre Spillway Open – May 9, 2011

Bonnet Carre Spillway Open – May 9, 2011

Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – May 14, 2011

Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – May 13, 2011

Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – May 13, 2011

MORGANZA, La. -- Over the next few days, water spewing through a Mississippi River floodgate will crawl through the swamps of Louisiana's Cajun country, chasing people and animals to higher ground while leaving much of the land under 10 to 20 feet of brown muck.

The floodgate was opened Saturday for the first time in nearly four decades, shooting out like a waterfall, spraying 6 feet into the air. Fish jumped or were hurled through the white froth and what was dry land soon turned into a raging channel.

The water will flow 20 miles south into the Atchafalaya Basin, and from there it will roll on to Morgan City, an oil-and-seafood hub and a community of 12,000.

In the nearby community of Stephensville, rows of sandbags were piled up outside nearly every home.

Merleen Acosta, 58, waited in line for three hours to get her sandbags filled by prisoners, then returned later in the day for more bags.

Floodwaters inundated Acosta's home when the Morganza spillway was opened in 1973, driving her out for several months. The thought of losing her home again was so stressful she was getting sick.

The opening of the spillway diverted water from Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and the numerous oil refineries and chemical plants along the lower reaches of the Mississippi. Shifting the water away from the cities eased the strain on levees and blunts the potential for flooding in New Orleans that could have been much worse than Hurricane Katrina.

C.E. Bourg stopped by a hardware store in the shadow of the Morgan City floodwalls to buy grease for his lawnmower and paint -- items on his "honey-do list." Floodwaters came close to overtopping in 1973, but since then, they have been raised to 24 feet and aren't in danger of being overtaken.

Bourg, an attorney, said he represented a worker who was injured on the 70s-era floodwall project and learned a lot about how they were built.

"I got a copy of the plans," he said. "This one's built right, unlike the ones in New Orleans."

The Morganza spillway is part of a system of locks and levees built after the great flood of 1927, which killed hundreds and left many more without homes. When the Morganza opened, it was the first time three flood-control systems have been unlocked at the same time along the Mississippi River, a sign of just how historic the current flooding has been.

Earlier this month, the corps intentionally blew holes into a levee in Missouri to employ a similar cities-first strategy, and it also opened a spillway northwest of New Orleans about a week ago.

Snowmelt and heavy rain swelled the Mississippi, and the river has peaked at levels not seen in 70 years.

In Krotz Springs, La., one of the towns in the Atchafalaya River basin bracing for floodwaters, phones at the local police department rang nonstop as residents sought information on road closings and evacuation routes.

Like so many other residents downstream of the Morganza, Monita Reed, 56, recalled the last time it was opened in 1973.

"We could sit in our yard and hear the water," she said as workers constructed a makeshift levee of sandbags and soil-filled mesh boxes in hopes of protecting the 240 homes in her subdivision.

About 25,000 people and 11,000 structures could be affected by the oncoming water, and some people living in the threatened stretch of countryside -- an area known for fish camps and a drawling French dialect -- have already fled. Reed's family packed her furniture, clothing and pictures in a rental truck and a relative's trailer.

"I'm just going to move and store my stuff. I'm going to stay here until they tell us to leave," she said. "Hopefully, we won't see much water and then I can move back in."

It took about 15 minutes for the one 28-foot gate to be raised in the middle of the spillway. The corps planned to open one or two more gates Sunday in a painstaking process that gives residents and animals a chance to stay dry.

Michael Grubb, whose home is located just outside the Morgan City floodwalls, hired a contractor this week to raise his house from 2 feet to 8 feet off the ground. It took a crew of 20 workers roughly 17 hours to jack up the house onto wooden blocks.

"I wanted to save this house desperately," said Grubb, 54. "This has tapped us out. This is our life savings here, but it's worth every penny."

Three feet of water flooded Grubb's home the last time the Morganza spillway was opened.

Water from the swollen Atchafalaya River already was creeping into his backyard, but Grubb was confident his home will stay dry. He has a generator and a boat he plans to use for grocery runs. The water from the spillway was expected to reach Morgan City around Tuesday.

The crest of the Mississippi was still more than a week away from the Morganza spillway, and when it arrives, officials expect it to linger. The bulge has broken river-level records that had held since the 1920s in some places. As the water rolled down the river, the corps took drastic steps to protect lives.

The corps blew up a levee in Missouri -- inundating an estimated 200 square miles of farmland and damaging or destroying about 100 homes -- to take the pressure off floodwalls protecting the town of Cairo, Ill., population 2,800.

The Morganza flooding is more controlled, however, and residents are warned by the corps each year in written letters, reminding them of the possibility of opening the spillway.

At the site of the spillway, water splashed over the gates on one side before a vertical crane hoisted the 10-ton, steel panel. Typically, the spillway is dry on both sides.

This is the second spillway to be opened in Louisiana. The corps used cranes to remove some of the Bonnet Carre's wooden barriers, sending water into the massive Lake Ponchatrain and eventually the Gulf of Mexico.

By Sunday, all 350 bays at the 7,000-foot Bonnet Carre structure were to be open. The Morganza, a 4,000-foot long structure built in 1954, was expecting to only open up about a quarter of its 125 gates.

The spillways could be opened for weeks, or perhaps less time, if the river flow starts to subside.

In Vicksburg, Miss., where five neighborhoods were under water, a steady stream of onlookers posed for pictures on a river bluff overlooking a bridge that connects Louisiana and Mississippi. Some people posed for pictures next to a Civil War cannon while others carried Confederate battle flags being given away by a war re-enactor.

Larry and Paulla Dalrymple spent part of the day with a video camera, filming the river roll past a casino and swirl around the giant bridge pilings.

"Wow. It's really running,"' Paulla said. "It's amazing what the water can do -- what it's doing to people's lives."

Check out the article at Fox News.

I feel for all of the people in the Morganza floodway. Hopefully modern engineering can contain the awesome power of nature… or a heckuva lot more people will be directly affected!

Check out these interesting links:

Thursday, May 05, 2011

John James Audubon Bridge Opens Early!

John James Audubon Bridge - May 5, 2011

John James Audubon Bridge - May 5, 2011

John James Audubon Bridge - May 5, 2011

John James Audubon Bridge Map

State highway officials opened the new John James Audubon Bridge over the Mississippi River at 10:25 a.m. Thursday.

The bridge is open ahead of schedule because of concerns about the rising river’s effect on the New Roads-St. Francisville ferry, which ceased operating permanently Thursday morning.

Richard Savoie, chief engineer for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, said some work remains to be done on the 1,583-foot-long structure but motorists may see some shoulder and lane closures as the work progresses.

The bridge was slated to open June 1.

The $408 million bridge connects Pointe Coupee Parish with West Feliciana Parish.

Construction began in 2006 and was initially set to open in November 2010. Later, that opening date was shifted to October 2011 and then June 2011.

This is the newest crossing of the Mississippi River in Louisiana and is being built by Audubon Bridge Constructors, made up of Flatiron Corp., Granite Construction; and Parsons Transportation Group, according to DOTD.

The bridge gets its name from John James Audubon, the famous naturalist artist.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

Truly an engineering marvel! I can't wait to drive over it the next time I'm over that way. The main span is 1,583 feet long, making it the longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere... impressive!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

US Military Kills Osama Bin Laden!

Osama Bin Laden Killed

Osama Bin Laden Killed

Osama Bin Laden Killed

Osama Bin Laden Killed

Osama Bin Laden Killed

Osama Bin Laden Killed

Osama Bin Laden Killed

Osama Bin Laden Killed

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Osama bin Laden, the face of global terrorism and architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was killed in a firefight with elite American forces Monday, then quickly buried at sea in a stunning finale to a furtive decade on the run.

Long believed to be hiding in caves, bin Laden was tracked down in a costly, custom-built hideout not far from a Pakistani military academy.

"Justice has been done," President Barack Obama said in a dramatic announcement at the White House while a crowd cheered outside and hundreds more gathered at ground zero in Manhattan to celebrate the news.

The military operation took mere minutes.

U.S. helicopters ferrying elite counter-terrorism troops into the compound identified by the CIA as bin Laden's hideout - and back out again in less than 40 minutes. Bin Laden was shot in the head, officials said, after he and his bodyguards resisted the assault.

Three adult males were also killed in the raid, including one of bin Laden's sons, whom officials did not name. One of bin Laden's sons, Hamza, is a senior member of al-Qaida. U.S. officials also said one woman was killed when she was used as a shield by a male combatant, and two other women were injured.

The U.S. official who disclosed the burial at sea said it would have been difficult to find a country willing to accept the remains. Obama said the remains had been handled in accordance with Islamic custom, which requires speedy burial.

"I heard a thundering sound, followed by heavy firing. Then firing suddenly stopped. Then more thundering, then a big blast," said Mohammad Haroon Rasheed, a resident of Abbottobad, Pakistan, after the choppers had swooped in and then out again.

Bin Laden's death marks a psychological triumph in a long struggle that began with the Sept. 11 attacks, and seems certain to give Obama a political lift. But its ultimate impact on al-Qaida is less clear.

The greatest terrorist threat to the U.S. is now considered to be the al-Qaida franchise in Yemen, far from al-Qaida's core in Pakistan. The Yemen branch almost took down a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas 2009 and nearly detonated explosives aboard two U.S. cargo planes last fall. Those operations were carried out without any direct involvement from bin Laden.

The few fiery minutes in Abbottobad followed years in which U.S. officials struggled to piece together clues that ultimately led to bin Laden, according to an account provided by senior administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the operation.

Based on statements given by U.S. detainees since the 9/11 attacks, they said, intelligence officials have long known that bin Laden trusted one al-Qaida courier in particular, and they believed he might be living with him in hiding.

Four years ago, the United States learned the man's identity, which officials did not disclose, and then about two years later, they identified areas of Pakistan where he operated. Last August, the man's residence was found, officials said.

"Intelligence analysis concluded that this compound was custom built in 2005 to hide someone of significance," with walls as high as 18 feet and topped by barbed wire, according to one official. Despite the compound's estimated $1 million cost and two security gates, it had no phone or Internet running into the house.

By mid-February, intelligence from multiple sources was clear enough that Obama wanted to "pursue an aggressive course of action," a senior administration official said. Over the next two and a half months, the president led five meetings of the National Security Council focused solely on whether bin Laden was in that compound and, if so, how to get him, the official said.

Obama made a decision to launch the operation on Friday, shortly before flying to Alabama to inspect tornado damage, and aides set to work on the details.

The president spent part of his Sunday on the golf course, but cut his round short to return to the White House for a meeting where he and top national security aides reviewed final preparations for the raid.

Two hours later, Obama was told that bin Laden had been tentatively identified.

CIA director Leon Panetta was directly in charge of the military team during the operation, according to one official, and when he and his aides received word at agency headquarters that bin Laden had been killed, cheers broke out around the conference room table.

Administration aides said the operation was so secretive that no foreign officials were informed in advance, and only a small circle inside the U.S. government was aware of what was unfolding half a world away.

In his announcement, Obama said he had called Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari after the raid, and said it was "important to note that our counter-terrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding."

One senior administration told reporters, though, "we were very concerned ... that he was inside Pakistan, but this is something we're going to continue to work with the Pakistani government on."

The compound is about a half-mile from a Pakistani military academy, in a city that is home to three army regiments and thousands of military personnel. Abbottabad is surrounded by hills and with mountains in the distance.

Critics have long accused elements of Pakistan's security establishment of protecting bin Laden, though Islamabad has always denied it, and in a statement the foreign ministry said his death showed the country's resolve in the battle against terrorism.

Whatever the global repercussions, bin Laden's death marked the end to a manhunt that consumed most of a decade that began in the grim hours after bin Laden's hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center twin towers in Manhattan and the Pentagon across the Potomac River from Washington. A fourth plane was commandeered by passengers who overcame the hijackers and forced the plane to crash in the Pennsylvania countryside.

In all, nearly 3,000 were killed in the worst terror attacks on American soil.

Former President George W. Bush, who was in office on the day of the attacks, issued a written statement hailing bin Laden's death as a momentous achievement. "The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done," he said.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

Excellent news!!! Go USA!!!

Be sure to check out: