WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Osama bin Laden’s death stirred emotions of relief and celebration all over the world today. Families of those who lost their lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks were finally given a sense of closure.
But before September 11, Osama bin Laden became a household name after his involvement in the bombings of American Embassies in Africa. In 1998, embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed within minutes of each other. The attacks left more than 200 killed and thousands injured.
Jim Owens, who has a house in Wilmington, survived the bombing in Tanzania. Owens was working as a humanitarian in Africa in 1998. He was at a meeting at the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam when it was bombed.
“I think most of the people to the right of me died,” said Owens. “I suffered some substantial injuries. I had a brain injury, which resulted in PTSD. I have seizures. I was in the hospital for three days in September because of the seizures.”
Terrorist attacks seemed to follow Owens. During a visit to New York City on September 11, 2001, he was just blocks away from where the towers fell. He had been at the World Trade Center the day before.
“I was at the World Trade Center, so Osama almost got me at the embassy and he missed me by 18 hours in New York City,” said Owens.
Though the bombing in Tanzania still haunts him, Owens lives mostly in Africa but also has a home in Wilmington. He comes here for treatment for his injuries from the bombing. It’s been more than a decade, but says he still deals with it on a daily basis.
“Every time there is a bombing some where, my PTSD kind of goes off the charts,” said Owens. “I hear widows in New York talking about closure. Closure is a myth.”
When he heard the news of bin Laden’s death, Owens says he couldn’t quite believe it had finally happened.
“Osama bin Laden is dead and the world is a safer place for it,” said Owens.