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Suwanee Reacts to bin Laden Slaying

Police say there are 'no alerts,' per the nationwide system.

Updated 9:35 a.m., May 4, 2011.

Suwanee residents expressed surprise and some anxiety Monday as they talked about the slaying of Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed some 3,000 people in 2001.

"Yes, I was surprised," homemaker Jenny Lyons said Monday as she took a break from her dental assistant studies. Lyons said she first heard the report Sunday night when her husband forwarded her a text message from CNN. "I said, 'shut up.'"

"I was awfully excited," said Bob Juhl, a retired Suwanee resident. "My wife is a night owl, and she got me up." Juhl added that he also is excited for "the people who lost loved ones at the locations in New York, the Pentagon, in Shanksville (Pa.) ..."

Mirav Desai, a Georgia State student, said he heard the news Sunday night. "Wow ... amazing," he said of his reaction to the announcement that special U.S. forces had killed bin Laden at his compound in Pakistan. Did he think bin Laden would ever be caught? "Probably not."

A Suwanee police spokesperson said Wednesday that there are "no alerts'; the agency adheres to the National Terrorism Advisory System, which replaced the color-coded Homeland Security system.

Desai said he stood at the top of one of the World Trade Center towers a week before the attacks during a family trip; he had a cousin, now deceased, who worked near the towers at the time.

Former Suwanee Mayor Nick Masino, now with the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, recalled that some constituents wanted to delay Suwanee Day festivities in 2001 because of the attacks, which happened that week. But the city pressed forward and the result was the largest and most patriotic Suwanee Day crowd to date. Suwanee's Town Center Park and current City Hall did not exist in 2001.

"I was a little surprised at the location (of bin Laden's capture)," said Juhl, who felt that the terrorist leader eventually would be caught. "A palatial estate in a town of 90,000 ...

"We can't let our guard down (against terrorism). It's an ongoing process."

Suwanee police spokesperson Clyde Byers remembered that on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, the command staff was watching news coverage in the department. The only response was to place everyone on notice of a possible call-in as a precaution of attacks in the area.

Lyons agreed that potential danger still exists. "I feel like (bin Laden) had a plan with his people that 'if they find me ...' 

"I'm sad when anyone dies," she added. "I keep thinking, 'should he be in a jail?'"

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