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Residents react to news of bin Laden’s death

By Staff | May 2, 2011

With the death of Osama bin Laden nearly 10 years after 9/11, many Cape Coral residents are sharing their feelings, along with what they are doing to help soldiers oversees and those who are returning home.
According to the Associated Press, Osama bin Laden was killed by Navy Seals Monday during a raid at his compound outside of Isalamabad, the capital of Pakistan. He was later buried at sea, according to reports.
After hearing about bin Laden, Tyler Araujo, who has a son that was injured in Afghanistan, said that the al-Qaida leader “wasn’t killed, he was taken care of.”
“The military did what they needed to do,” he said. “They had to get the mastermind … once they get the mastermind they can get the rest of the group.”
Araujo said although bin Laden is dead, he knows that the war is not going to end as soon as people think.
“When you remove one person in charge, there is always someone else there to take over,” he said.
Araujo’s son, Specialist Michael Araujo, was injured while deployed in Afghanistan in 2009.
After Michael graduated from Mariner High School in 2008, he attended boot camp at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. In December 2008, he graduated from boot camp and military police training and was immediately sent to Fort Stewart, Ga. He left for his first detachment to Afghanistan on July 28, 2009, and was injured by an 18-ton IED explosive under his vehicle on Oct. 16, 2009. He was awarded a Purple Heart in December while being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Michael is currently stationed at Fort Stewart while awaiting his medical retirement. Araujo said his son is walking, talking and moving.
Another Cape Coral woman who has a family member in Afghanistan shared her thoughts about the death of bin Laden.
Mary Zizzamia’s son-in-law, Sgt. Christopher Kellner, has served two tours in Iraq and spent 86 days in Haiti two days after the earthquake struck the area. He was deployed in late March to Afghanistan and is expected to return home the first week of October.
She said after hearing that bin Laden was killed, she was glad it was over.
“I hope this is the beginning of the end,” Zizzamia said, adding that she thinks it will speed up the process of what our government has planned to do.
She said her only concern is any retaliation that may prolong the deployment of any troops out there.
Congressman Connie Mack also shared his comments about the killing of Osama bin Laden.
“After nine years, seven months and 20 days: justice served,” he said. “Tonight we should all remember those lost on Sept. 11, 2001 and the brave men and women who sacrificed so much in the pursuit of this coward who perpetuated the highest of crimes against human kind. We will never quit the pursuit of justice in the War on Terror.”
With loved ones still oversees, family members and the community have come together to help send care packages to the troops to let them know they are appreciated.
Zizzamia began seeking donations last month for care packages to send to her son-in-law from the patrons at the Clubhouse Grille and Bar, so they can send boxes to her son-in-law’s U.S. Marine Corp unit in Afghanistan.
She held a car wash that raised $900 for her cause and was able to send out 10 care packages last Friday to her son-in-law’s unit. Another car wash is expected to be held soon.
The boxes will be sent to 24 Marines in Afghanistan.
Araujo and his son decided to make a difference for the veterans who are coming home, by holding an event that will shed some light on the various organizations out there to provide assistance in their time of need.
The free event will take place on June 25 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Sun Sport Cycle and Watercraft located at 3441 Colonial Blvd.
“We are not trying to make a profit,” he said about the veterans welcome home event. “This is something for the veterans.”
Although Araujo spent 23 years in the service and is now a retired veteran, he said he did not know about all the organizations that are out there to help soldiers in their time of need.
“I am trying to put it all together to let people know that there are programs out there to help them,” he said about the Veterans Foundation, Operation Open Arms and Cajun Classic. “They are out there to help the vets and their families and get the benefits that they deserve.”
Any profits made during the event will be donated to the organizations so they can continue to help the soldiers.
An escorted motorcycle ride will also take place the day of the event from Cape Coral to Fort Myers. Araujo said although the specific destination has not yet been determined, he knows it will begin somewhere on the corner of Veterans and Del Prado Parkway.
The ride will go down the Veterans Memorial Bridge, so the riders can pass the Iwo Jima Statue and other memorials to honor the veterans as they ride past all the way to Sun Sports Cycle and Watercraft.
Michael will ride on the back of his father’s motorcycle and attend the June event.
The event will also feature food and drink vendors and raffle drawings of prizes from Hampton Inn and Suites, Outback Steakhouse, Ihop, Advanced Auto Parts and Walmart.
Araujo said they are still seeking bands who are interested in playing during the event, along with any support individuals want to give. The band Superbreed has already been put on the schedule to play.
For information, call Tyler Araujo at 239-699-7707 or email him at dntaraujo@earthlink.net.