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For the entire day on Monday, the Willett family, from Walnut Shade Missouri, was bombarded with phone calls from local news outlets. Their son, John, was in the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and never made it out. KSMU’s Adam Hammons talked with Ron Willett, John's father, to get the perspective of a victim's family members now that 9-11 mastermind Osama bin Laden is dead.
When Ron Willett saw on the news Sunday night that the president was going to give a special message, he knew it was something about Bin Laden. Later that night his hopes were confirmed. He said he was up until midnight. “We got quite a few phone calls [from] people, friends of ours from New York that had lost family members. We were just completely elated, it was the greatest news we had in ten years.” Ron’s son, John Willett, was 29 when he died. He was in the one-hundred-first floor of the north tower in the World Trade Center, and was earning his Ph.D. at Notre Dame while working in New York. At 23, Willett was also the youngest county treasurer in Missouri history. After graduating from the University of Missouri, Governor Mel Carnahan appointed him treasurer of Taney County. For Ron Willett, the news is good, but he says closure is something harder to attain.“We’ll never have closure; they’ve never found any remnants of John’s body.”Ron quoted a friend of his who also lost a son in New York. “He said, 'No there will never be closure.' He said that was my son, and that’s the same way we feel. We’ll never have our sons back.”He says the main thing that’s changed is just the mental feeling that Bin Laden is gone and won’t be able to destroy any more lives. For KSMU News, I’m Adam Hammons.