For Douglas Freeman, the death of Osama bin Laden brings no comfort.
"Satisfaction maybe, but my pain will be eternal. He’s just another flash in the pan. He’s just another news article. He’s nothing to me."
Freeman lost his 25 year-old son, Lance Cpl. Ronald "Dougie" Freeman on Thursday, when he was killed by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. The Plant City native died ten days after the birth of his son, and on his daughter’s first birthday. He had only been in Afghanistan for three weeks.
Three days after Freeman died, U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden.
Douglas Freeman says bin Laden’s death was a great day for America and he’s proud of our military. But his feelings are more complex about bin Laden’s demise.
"Personally a lot of it hurts me because he died and he died with one of his sons. My son died and I am more or less dead from all this. I don’t like the war. We shouldn’t be there. We should get out, and we should get out now."
While the world investigates the operation that took down bin Laden, Freeman says he is numb.
"I’m back to reality. My son is gone, and it’s all because of Osama bin Laden."
Today, Lance Cpl. Freeman’s body will arrive at MacDill Air Force Base. Military and law enforcement will honor Freeman in a fallen hero’s escort through Tampa to his family’s Thonotosassa’s church.
Douglas Freeman has always marveled at the patriotism and the community spirit for the military who have sacrificed their lives. It has always moved him in the past to see how many people in the Tampa Bay area show up to honor fallen heroes. Now his son will take the same path, and he hopes for the same support.
"It would mean a lot for everybody, and it would mean a lot for Dougie."