Locals awoke Monday morning to the news that Osama bin Laden was killed by United States .
LOCALS WEIGH IN ON BIN LADEN'S DEATH
The response around Prince William County was an overwhelming sigh of relief that was echoed across the county and the nation. But not all are sharing the sentiment that the war on terror is over.
"I think his death will give too many people a false sense of security. He's dead, but his followers still live,” said Mike Kraus, of Dale City. "The achievement of what our military did last night will be exploited by both political parties, and that's a real shame."
President Barack Obama made an unplanned statement announcing bin Laden’s death late Sunday night, and since then it has been the topic of conversations both nationally and locally.
“I’m thrilled,” said Denise from Dale City, who requested her last name not be used. “I hope this means we get to bring some troops home now but I know they still have a job to do.”
"We need to be as aware if not more now,” said Colleen Baldwin, a Lake Ridge resident. “Pakistan’s government reaction could be hotbed, too."
The news of bin Laden’s death comes nearly a decade after the initial attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
"It just seems like it happened out of nowhere. After 10 years, bang, bin Laden dead, hard to believe,” said local Ariel Banegas.
Others share Banegas’ skepticism.
"I would have voted for Obama [in 2012] anyway. He didn't have to come up with this wacky story,” said Woodbridge resident Rachael Paladino. “Years ago, I remember hearing from mainstream news sources that he was already dead. I don't buy this at all."
Another resident questioned why bin Laden was killed and not kept for questioning.
"Why would they kill him?" said Woodbridge resident Sheena Everette. "Why wouldn't they keep him for questioning like they did Hussein?"
BIN LADEN AT CENTER OF MORNING CONVERSATIONS
Prince William County is a mere 20 miles south of Washington, D.C. and many residents commute into the city for work.
One resident was getting her morning coffee at a busy Starbucks in Woodbridge this morning had a bit of trepidation as she headed into work.
“I work at the Pentagon and we’re already on high alert,” said the woman who did not wish to be identified because of her job. “It’s going to be a long day.”
At Starbucks this morning, there was a buzz in the air as a long line wound through the storefront. People in line were chatting about the news of bin Laden’s death, and a cacophony of soundbites filled the room.
Some people in line expressed relief that bin Laden was dead, and others were talking about what this meant for national security. All in all, the mood was light as locals went about their morning coffee routines, seemingly patriotic about Sunday’s event.
Despite the jovial atmosphere, most people were reluctant to share their individual experiences of 9/11.
TRAVELERS AND COMMUTERS: BE AWARE OF SURROUNDINGS
The State Department released a travel alert on Monday for Americans that may be traveling abroad.
“Given the uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, U.S. citizens in areas where recent events could cause anti-American violence are strongly urged to limit their travel outside of their homes and hotels and avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations,” said the department’s release.
Nearby Army base, Fort Belvoir, issued a security alert Sunday night saying that the base has increased precautions by raising the Force Protection Condition (FPCON) "Bravo." Commuters should allow extra time, especially during the morning hours, when accessing Fort Belvoir. FP Condition "Bravo" means there is increased or more predictable threat of terrorist activity,
Virginia Rail Express put out a statement Monday to remind riders to, “maintain a heightened sense of awareness” while on the trains and to notify a conductor if any suspicious activity is noticed.
The Virginia State Police are reminding residents of the “if you see something, say something” campaign.
“At this time, there is no known direct threat against Virginia or its infrastructure as a result of these recent events,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We simply want to remind our citizens to stay attune to their surroundings and environment, and to always report suspicious activity to law enforcement.”
both released statements expressing their gratitude for the military operation but warning that the government must remain vigilant on terrorism.
Lake Ridge-Occoquan Patch editor Rachel Leon and Woodbridge Patch reporter contributed to this report.