This time last year, Westport firefighter Nick Marsan was stationed in Afghanistan, serving out a year-long tour of duty with the 102nd Infantry of the Connecticut National Guard. He was proud when he heard the news that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden had been killed Sunday by U.S. forces.
However, Marsan said the news left him with mixed emotions because bin Ladens death doesn't close the book on the war against terrorism.
"As much as his defeat is idyllic justice for 9/11, the sad fact is, his torch, his rhetoric has been carried on to his followers," the 38-year-old Norwalk resident said. "There's still a long way to go to defeat terrorism and the people involved with terrorist activities."
Marsan, who finished his one-year deployment in November, said that while the threat of terrorism remains, he hopes bin Laden's death will discourage terrorist activity.
During his stint in Afghanistan, Marsan served as the leader of a nine man team. He said they were charged with several responsibilities, including seeking out the Taliban. They also helped train the Afghan army and police to work independently and sustain themselves without the support of U.S. forces.
Although bin Laden's death doesn't eliminate the threat of terrorism, Marsan said it's a success for the United States.
"For me and a lot guys I've talked to, bin Laden's death is kind of symbolic to the long stay and the amount of time and effort that was put into our service in Afghanistan to help contain and diminish terrorist acts," he said. "There's also a nice feeling of elation that this really evil person has finally been brought to justice."
At the same time, Marsan said bin Laden's death doesn't undo 9/11.
"As much as it rejuvenates and gives a sense of hope to our mission overseas, no level of justice can bring back all the people who died in the attacks or the soldiers who lost their lives overseas," he said.
Have you served in Iraq or Afghanistan? What is your reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden?
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.