Like most Americans, the first time I heard the name Osama bin Laden was on Sept. 11, 2001. Unlike everyone else, when I first heard his name, I had just hung up the phone after being told that my mother, Judy Larocque, had a reservation on American Airlines Flight 11 — which hours earlier had crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.
I was sitting at a desk in a dark room at the Cambridge Marriott outside Boston, where I’d been attending a networking breakfast before work. After I gave up the fruitless effort to call my mom, and after I called my sister, listening to her scream when I told her Mom was gone, it was my father who first told me the name of the man who killed her. I did not recognize it. It sounded foreign, unintelligible to me; I could not have even begun to spell it. But the name — and the evil and mystique it would eventually embody — would come to transform and animate my life in ways I could never have imagined.
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