The door of had a single sign in the window on Monday morning: “Bin Laden is dead!! Free coffee.” Barry Neistat, the owner of the café, said the reason for the giveaway was simple.
“He’s the personification of evil to me,” said Neistat. “When I look at him, I see the devil.”
Osama bin Laden, the man behind the deadliest terrorist attack on United States soil, has been killed in Pakistan by a team of American forces. President Obama announced the news on Sunday evening.
The attacks on September 11, 2001, killed approximately 3,000 people, including two from New London. Ruth McCourt and her 4-year-old daughter Julianna boarded United Airlines Flight 175 to Los Angeles, intending to visit Disneyland. The plane was hijacked and crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. McCourt’s friend, Paige Farley-Hackel, was also going to fly on Flight 175 but switched to American Airlines Flight 11 to use her frequent flyer miles. This flight was also hijacked, becoming the first plane involved in the attacks as it crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
Keith Nichols, a battalion chief with the New London Fire Department, expressed relief at bin Laden’s death.
“I have a brother that’s in the military. I have a brother that’s a policeman,” said Nichols. “I’m happy to hear that it’s finally been taken care of.”
Jim Ryder said he was working for People’s Bank of Brockton in Massachusetts at the time of the attacks. Sandler O’Neil, an investment firm they did business with, was located in the World Trade Center. They lost 66 employees, according to a report in the USA Today.
“I’m not happy that anyone’s died,” Ryder said, “but I’m relieved that he’s not there anymore to mastermind any more attacks.”
Dwight and Barbara Dutton also expressed relief at the development, but said they were also sobered by the heavy cost in military lives and the state of international affairs.
“It’s not one of joy,” Barbara said of her reaction. “It’s more of a feeling that it’s too bad that we have to live this way, that we’re happy to be killing someone.”
“I also kind of feel sorrow at the loss of all the lives of American men and women that it cost,” said Dwight.
Reid Burdick, a director at and emergency management director for New London, said he hoped the country would remain vigilant in the wake of bin Laden’s death.
“I’m a little apprehensive about it, because I worry that there’s a thousand other nuts out there who want to be just like him,” said Burdick. “It’s certainly a good day when you defeat an enemy, but there’s more to al Qaeda than bin Laden.”
Correction: The video originally misspelled Neistat's name as Neitstat. The spelling has been corrected.