Mother of 9/11 victim feels relief more than closure following death of Osama bin Laden

Sheila Flocco, the mother of Matthew Flocco who was killed at the Pentagon on September 11th 2001, says she got a phone call late Sunday night from her niece:  the President was about to announce that Osama bin Laden had been killed. 

Ms. Flocco says she had doubts that after nearly ten years bin Laden would ever be found.  However, she always knew the military was determined to get the leader of al-Qaida who mastermined the 9-11 attacks.

“I knew the military wouldn’t give up until they got him.  And, they did,” Ms. Flocco says.

Matthew Flocco was 21 years old.  The Newark High School graduate was serving in the Navy when a plane slammed into the Pentagon and burst into flames nearly a decade ago.

His mother says with bin Laden gone, “I don’t think we’ll ever really have closure.  It’s just more ‘relief.'” 

She is also very much aware that bin Laden had his followers, and they and other affiliated groups may want to strike back.

“They’re going to want to retaliate, no doubt,” Ms. Flocco says of bin Laden’s followers.  But, she is also faithful that the same determination through intelligence and military action that carried out the mission that killed bin Laden will hopefully prevent any future attacks. 

Matthew Flocco’s legacy lives on in Newark, where a street and a Little League field are named after him.  Also, the family hopes to begin awarding a scholarship in his honor to a graduating Newark High School senior.

Jill Abbott of Wilmington, whose father Michael San Phillip died in the attack on the World Trade Center, says it was something she lived with every day.  At the same time, she says bin Laden’s demise does nothing to bring her father back.

“There is some relief that a person capable of bringing harm to others will not be able to do that any more,” Ms. Abbott says. 

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.