Clark County

Kentucky relatives of 9/11 victims relieved bin Laden is dead

A Navy honor guard carries the casket to a hearse after the funeral of Navy  Petty Officer 1st Class Edward Earhart,  held at Morehead State University s  Academic-Athletic Center in Morehead, Ky., Sunday September 23, 2001. Earhart  was the first reported military casualty from Kentucky in the Sept. 11  terrorist attack on the Pentagon. The 26-year-old weather expert worked for  the Joint Chiefs of Staff when a hijacked commercial airline crashed into the  Pentagon. He was buried in the Hamilton Cemetery in Rowan County following  the funeral.
A Navy honor guard carries the casket to a hearse after the funeral of Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Edward Earhart, held at Morehead State University s Academic-Athletic Center in Morehead, Ky., Sunday September 23, 2001. Earhart was the first reported military casualty from Kentucky in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon. The 26-year-old weather expert worked for the Joint Chiefs of Staff when a hijacked commercial airline crashed into the Pentagon. He was buried in the Hamilton Cemetery in Rowan County following the funeral. LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER

Three Kentucky relatives of two people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks said Monday they were relieved that Osama bin Laden has finally been killed. But they also wonder what his death will mean.

"It's been a long time coming, but it's finally come after all these years," said Kristen Hall, 28, of Nicholasville. Her father, New York City firefighter Tom Kuveikis, 48, died when the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.

But Hall said the country probably has not heard the last from bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist organization.

"It worries me that they might come back against us and have another attack on the U.S.," Hall said.

Meanwhile, the oldest sister of Ed Earhart, 26, of Morehead, a Navy petty officer first class who died in the Pentagon attack on 9/11, said bin Laden's death "was a long time coming."

"You wonder now what al-Qaida is going to do, what kind of retribution" might happen, said Andrea Stauter of Winchester. "There is trepidation: What's going to happen next?"

Asked whether she agreed with President Barack Obama that justice had been served, Stauter said, "In a way, it is partial justice. A lot of innocent people died that didn't need to. But we still have terrorists, and al-Qaida is still a big network."

Earhart's aunt, Claudette Thomas of Rowan County, said, "I feel our country has been vindicated to actually see this. He was the mastermind behind the murders. Does it mean somebody else will pick up the torch? Yes, somebody else will pick up the torch. I don't believe it's over.

"Yes, I believe that we have received some justice. Is it complete justice? I don't know if it's complete. I am proud and very thankful for all our military, that they are putting their lives in harm's way. ... I believe this is something that our military needed for their reputation in the world theater. We've always been known for our prowess against attackers."

Earhart was the first military casualty identified in the rubble of the Pentagon. He had transferred there at the end of 2000 after a three-year stint at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. At the Pentagon he monitored weather around the globe for ships and planes.

The Navy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association named twin undersea mountains in the Pacific Ocean for Earhart and Matt Flocco, the man he was training at the time of the attacks.

Earhart wasn't his family's only casualty in the war on terror. Earhart's cousin Collin Trent Thomas, 33, was fatally shot during combat operations in east Afghanistan in August. Thomas was deployed there as a member of a Navy SEAL team.

Kuveikis, the New York firefighter, was a carpenter, tofu-eating vegetarian and nature lover who explored Mammoth Cave and Natural Bridge during his periodic visits to Kentucky, his daughter recalled in a 2002 interview.

Hall said she and her husband, Asher, were watching Fox News on Sunday night when they heard that the president would soon speak to the nation about bin Laden's death.

"I didn't believe it until I heard the president say he did die," Hall said.

Hall said she plans to attend a 10-year commemoration of the 2001 attacks in New York City.

"I'm kind of worried to go to the World Trade Center site," she said. "I don't know how safe it will be."

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