Westport resident Paulette Rochman didn't personally know anyone who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. But Monday afternoon, she visited the 9/11 Living Memorial at Sherwood Island State Park after hearing the news that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for the attacks, had been killed by U.S. forces.
"I don't have a personal stack to 9/11 — I'm just a proud American citizen," she said. "Everyone was so affected by 9/11. But here in Fairfield County, we felt it realistically and emotionally because so many people here work [in the city]. I just wanted to pay a little honor to the victims and to our armed forces, many of whom have also lost their lives."
Rochman said she wasn't awake Sunday night when President Obama announced bin Laden's death. But Rochman said she was stunned when she read the news Monday morning. "'Oh wow, finally! Thank you, America'" is how she described her initial reaction. "I don't condone killing, but taking out bin Laden needed to be done."
Although his death provides some closure, she said it doesn't erase what was done on 9/11. "I'll never forget," she said of the attacks. "I was driving into work that morning, and I was listening to the radio — music, not talk — so when the news came on, I had to check to make sure I was on the right station. Then when I heard the news, I couldn't believe it — it was so shocking, it took time to sink in. I hope nothing like that ever happens again."
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