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New Canaan Kids Temper Cheers Over bin Laden

Andrew Gruseke showed his American pride Monday. The New Canaan High School junior showed his love for his country and New York City by wearing a white T-shirt complete with the American flag, the face of the Statue of Liberty and the words “New York” printed on the front. His outfit included an American flag belt buckle. Though Gruseke, 17, is happy about the news of the death of al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden, he is not convinced that the danger is over.

“I’m proud to be an American, and I feel proud today, but I know this isn’t the end,” Gruseke said.

The mood of New Canaan High students was mixed. Bin Laden’s death was discussed by most of the student body, who were in elementary school or kindergarten in 2001 when hijacked planes resulted in more than 3,000 deaths. Though many New Canaan students are relieved that bin Laden was killed, others were dreading a prolonged military presence in Afghanistan or another terrorist attack.

Will Cromwell, 17, said he wasn’t celebrating because the fighting in Afghanistan will continue. “It’s great that we got him for the victims of the World Trade Center, but it’s more of a morale victory than a strategic one,” he said. “He (bin Laden) was a leader, but there’s still plenty of bad guys out there.”

Steffi Badanes, 17, a classmate in Cromwell’s American studies class, was a little more optimistic. She figured she would have been among the revelers outside the White House early Monday who cheered bin Laden’s death. “It’s good because it provides some closure for the people who lost loved ones on 9/11.” Now she’s hoping the government will pull American soldiers out of Afghanistan. “We have no more reason to stay,” she said.

Maddie Gordon, 17, also think it’s time to pull the troops out of Afghanistan. And though she’s glad to know bin Laden is gone, Gordon worries about who might take over as the new al-Qaida leader and whether that new face is plotting revenge.  “Everyone is happy, but we don’t know what the future will bring,” she said.

Are you happy or cautious about American security now that Osama bin Laden is gone? Let us know by leaving a comment below. You can also visit our Facebook page.

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