Ray specialized in the worst job there is in modern warfare: he was the leader of an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team . If you've seen The Hurt Locker, that's what he did. He has been blown up three times. This last time he didn't walk away. Now, he wasn't killed, he just couldn't walk away from it. He has literally had every single bone in his body - from his skull to his toes - broken. He has pins in his limbs and pins holding his ribs in place. He is confined to a wheelchair most of the time because it's incredibly painful and difficult for him to walk. (He still tries because he's that guy. He's impressive, to say the least.) He was forced into retirement when his rehabilitation wasn't going anywhere. He didn't want to leave his men. He was given a mission, and he hadn't accomplished it yet.
His mission was to clear the way for elite troops to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. The first thing I did this morning was thank him for making it possible, because even though he's been stateside for a year, he's a part of this. And make no mistake: I think of it as a victory. A dangerous man that killed Ray's men (and 5,885 of our soldiers, not to mention the 276 British troops, 153 Canadians, etc.) was stopped from hurting anymore people. This will not end al-Quaeda but this will go a long way into defusing their power.
I am not dancing in the streets because a life was ended. I'm bursting with pride for those amazing 22 men of the SEALs that made a precise strike and took out the key element to this stupid war. I do not feel bad for one ounce of emotion I'm carrying. I know we all want to be thoughtful, non-violent people, but a rabid dog was put down and we're a little safer for it. I will not apologize for smiling and pumping my fist in the air at the news.
Every person that puts their life on the line for their country has made an amazing sacrifice - one that the vast majority of us will never do. I, for one, am grateful for that and will not split hairs to decide the level of satisfaction/thoughtfulness that should be considered appropriate today. Feel what you feel. And thank a serviceman/woman for knowing they could have ended up like Ray (or dead) for trying to keep people safe from madmen.