Even decent people cursed name of a dead man, bin Laden

ColumnistMay 3, 2011 

— There was no time for nice talk and choir practice language Monday for guys like Chad Moss, who was wounded fighting in Afghanistan.

Moss and his two brothers - Justin and Brad - and stepfather were sent to Afghanistan with the Army National Guard because of the world's worst criminal, Osama bin Laden.

"I'm glad the son of a b---- is dead," Chad Moss said, not stopping himself from finishing the word.

His brother, Brad Moss, Afghanistan twice, had a reaction that was even more unprintable in a family newspaper - yet still appropriate, what combat veterans should say.

Wars breed rough language.

The Mosses' stepfather, Chris Hoagland, went to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The youngest Moss brother, Clayton, was still in Afghanistan Monday with his Army unit, as word spread around the world that bin Laden - who killed so many with glee - finally ended up where he belonged.

Dead, with a bullet to the head.

"The last 10 years of my life, my whole family has sacrificed for this day," said Bonnie Hoagland, mother of those four Moss soldiers and wife of the stepfather-soldier, Chris Hoagland.

"So much separation, so many tears, so much worry. I am one happy person today because that ... bin Laden, who ... started these wars that sent my kids off and everybody's kids off, is dead.

"That is just how I feel. It took the last 10 years to do it. (President Barack) Obama didn't do it. No politician could get bin Laden. It is somebody's son, one of the troops, who got that devil."

So many lost their lives to get bin Laden.

Paul Neff II from Fort Mill died in Iraq.

Pat Leach from Rock Hill and Kenneth James Butler, who grew up in Rock Hill, both died In Iraq.

Zandra Worthy-Walker and Logan Tinsley from Chester died in Iraq.

"I'm glad that bin Laden is dead and gone - I am just sorry it took so long to get him," said Carlton Butler, the Rock Hill grandfather of Kenneth James Butler, who just wanted to grow up to be a cowboy but joined the Marines instead after 9/11.

For that, Butler died at age 18.

"Bin Laden getting killed is not going to bring my grandson back here to his family," Butler said, "but my grandson didn't die for nothin'."

People who sent families to fight these wars, or lost family in these wars that came about because of what those villains did on Sept. 11, 2001, do not mince words on a day like Monday.

Plenty of good, decent people cursed Monday.

Out at the York County fire training grounds on Ogden Road, the 14-foot beam from the World Trade Center - in York County just since February - will later this year become a permanent memorial to the 343 firefighters who died that horrible day.

The beam, heavy and still partly covered with iron bars and concrete, is a reminder of the dead who tried to save others after bin Laden launched mass murder.

Because of that beam, and bin Laden's carnage, 89-year-old World War II Navy combat veteran Leonard Farrington pulled out his American flag Monday - unfolding the flag from a drawer where he keeps it special.

"It's the same one I waved right after 9/11, and the years after, too," Farrington said. "I only use it for this."

For two days after the attacks - Sept. 12 and Sept. 13, 2001 - Farrington stood on the Sutton Road bridge over Interstate 77 near the Catawba River, and waved that flag at traffic.

He stood for hours. When one arm got tired he switched arms. Then he waved again on 9/11 in 2002 and 2003.

"The only reason I stopped on the anniversary years ago is a state policeman told me he loved my idea, but he thought I would cause a traffic problem with all the cars and trucks honking and looking at me," Farrington said.

"I would have kept coming out here every year on 9/11 - took the law to stop me."

So the flag stayed in the drawer for years - until Monday, when Farrington saw the big picture of bin Laden and the word "dead" huge in the newspaper.

Then this old Navy man - who ran out of a theater after Pearl Harbor in 1941, enlisted and served five straight years aboard a ship - opened the drawer and took out the flag and tied it to the metal pole used only for flag waving.

His wife of 63 years, Betty, had to drive him from Rock Hill to the bridge, because Leonard Farrington can't drive anymore.

"They took my license and my keys," said Leonard.

Betty Farrington stopped on the grass near the bridge. Leonard Farrington got out and held out his hand to the traffic and marched through stopped vehicles, across the bridge - think Eisenhower marching onto Omaha Beach.

Cops or no cops, for a few minutes, anyway, Leonard Farrington waved his American flag.

"No bin Laden is ever going to beat the United States of America," said Farrington. "Nobody takes on us and wins. You come after us, you get smacked right in the mouth.

"Uncle Sam knocks clowns like bin Laden on their rear ends."

The trucks barreling by below on I-77 northbound saw the old man Farrington waving his flag and honked. Cars beeped.

Then, finally, Farrington had made his point.

At 89, he couldn't stand long. His wife, Betty, and son, Bill, told him he needed to get back into the car and go home.

"But, yessir, I waved that flag."

Then a car pulled up onto the shoulder at the bridge just before Farrington was ready to leave. A woman popped out of the driver's seat and rushed over to Farrington. She wore a gray T-shirt that read "ARMY."

"My husband went to Afghanistan and I saw you waving that flag and I had to come see you and thank you," the woman said. "My name is Hayley Tindall.

"I drove all the way to the next exit, spun around and came here just so I could shake your hand."

Leonard Farrington shook that pretty lady's hand and he beamed. She drove off.

Farrington just had one last thing to say before he got in the car to go home, on a day when course language was what real men used if a lady was not around:

"We got you, you son of a b----. Take that, bin Laden."

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