9/11 survivor has mixed feelings on bin Laden's death

May 2, 2011

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(Getty/Spencer Platt)
The site of the World Trade Center on May 2, 2011.

Chicago-area residents with ties to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks seem to have mixed feelings about the death of Osama bin Laden.

Jonathan Markowitz of north suburban Evanston said he was on the 85th floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower when the first plane hit just five floors above him. He evacuated the building before it collapsed.

Nearly ten years later, Markowitz said he is not celebrating bin Laden's death, though he is reflecting on it.

"One part of me is very happy that the person who has brought war against the United States is no longer able to do that," Markowitz told WBEZ. "And the other part is sad, thinking that, you know, will one death bring peace? And since it will not, that's a sad thing."

Markowitz says he'd be satisfied if bin Laden's death brings closure to some victims' families. But for him, he said it is not a cause for celebration.

“Killing people is not a happy occasion,” he said. “I don't think this death will end the war. That's one of the more important things to me.”

Lionel Lenz's daughter wasn't so fortunate. Mary Catherine Wieman was 43 and married with three children, when she became one of 175 employees of Chicago-based Aon who died when the South Tower collapsed.

In an interview with WBEZ, Lenz, who lives in Rolling Meadows, said he faults the U.S. for not having killed bin Laden sooner.

"You know, I think of that all the time, too, and I think to myself, 'My daughter would still be here if this guy would’ve been taken out a few years ahead of time."

Lenz says he's glad bin Laden has been brought to justice, but even that can not bring closure to his daughter’s death.