Fathers of local USS Cole victims react to bin Laden's death



Posted on May 2, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Updated Monday, May 2 at 5:29 PM

NORFOLK -- Many people across Hampton Roads are proud to be Americans Monday morning, after hearing news that American forces have killed Osama bin Laden.

One especially proud American is Lou Gunn, whose son Cherone was one of the 17 sailors who died in October of 2000 when a boat full of explosives slammed into USS Cole as it sat in port in Yemen.

Osama bin Laden is believed to have been behind that attack, as well as the 9/11 attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

Although the man who is believed to have planned the attack on the USS Cole is behind bars in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Gunn says that the death of Bin Laden, the mastermind behind Al Qaeda, is the most satisfying moment since his son's death.

"They got the man that implemented the plan that killed and murdered my son along with sixteen other sailors, the man that raised havoc on the world trade center and other US soil. They got him they killed him and now like I said I feel fulfilled now, I do I really do, I can sleep good at night," said Gunn.

Gunn went on to say that he believes the country is safer now, though we need to keep our guards up because there could be repercussions.

Another father of a USS Cole bombing victim says he's relieved to learn Osama bin Laden has died.

John Clodfelter of Mechanicsville, Va. says he just wishes it didn't take so long to happen. Clodfelter's son, Kenneth, was among 17 sailors killed in the 2000 attack on the destroyer in Yemen blamed on al-Qaida.

He says his wife cried when she learned about bin Laden's death while watching the news Sunday night. He learned about bin Laden's death early Monday after being awoken from a sleep study.

He says he's glad it was a team of Navy SEALs who killed bin Laden. His son wanted to become a SEAL at the time of his death.

Kenneth Clodfelter was a 21-year-old hull maintenance technician when he died.


Associated Press also contributed to this report.



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