Local leaders reached immediately after the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death applauded the news but warned that America must remain on guard.
S.C. Rep. Chip Limehouse, a Charleston Republican and chairman of the Charleston County Aviation Authority, issued a memo Monday morning to the Charleston International Airport asking officials to be especially vigilant.
"Early this morning, justice came to our county with the death of Osama bin Laden," Limehouse wrote in the memo. "As we remember the people who lost their lives in the tragic events of (Sept. 11, 2001), I’d like to congratulate President Obama and all our country’s men and women in uniform for all their hard work in righting this wrong.
"I would ask that everyone who works at the airport continue their tradition of excellence and be ever-vigilant for things that just don’t look right. If you see something that needs to be checked out, please report it to the (Charleston County Aviation Authority) Police immediately."
Limehouse said he prays that Charleston "remains off the radar of any would-be terrorist," but he does not want to take any risks. The local aviation authority has jurisdiction over the airport.
So far, he said, there has been no cause for concern.
"I am always proud to be an American, but on today I am particularly proud," Limehouse said.
U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, South Carolina’s 1st District Republican, said Americans celebrating late Sunday outside the White House were symbolic of the “joy and jubilation that we all feel.”
The credit goes to the men and women in uniform serving overseas, he said.
“Here’s what you realize about being an American: Ultimately our country always comes together in times of crisis and in times of celebration,” Scott said.
While Scott said Sunday was a “fantastic day” for the country and a vindication that American is moving “in the right direction,” the country must also be on alert against attempts at retaliation.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, also applauded the news.
“Events such as this do not happen accidentally and require great personal sacrifice and courage,” Graham said in a statement. “God bless those who put themselves in harm’s way to bring about this long-overdue day of justice.
“With the death of Osama bin Laden and impending trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammad, I hope the victims of 9/11 will receive some closure and believe justice is being served. This day has been long awaited by our nation and all those who reject terrorism. This event by no means ends our fight against Al-Qaida, but it is a decisive moment helping create momentum for our cause throughout the world.”
Graham also warned Al-Qaida may seek revenge.
“That’s why it is important we stay on the offensive and remain ever-vigilant in our fight against terrorism,” he said.
S.C. Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, D-Charleston, said he is grateful to President Obama and America’s military.
“It’s an emotional thing for everyone who was alive on 9/11,” Stavrinakis said. “The operation that the president described was carried out with incredible precision and professionalism.”
He said he hopes the news brings peace to people all over the world.
Gov. Nikki Haley said bin Laden’s death is significant but not the end of the fight.
“Justice has been served,” the governor said in a statement. “While this does not mean the War on Terror is over, it is positive news and a great credit to the men and women fighting our enemies, day in and day out.”
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, whose constituency includes the Charleston Air Force Base and a significant number of military families, applauded the news.
“I think that everybody who remembers 9/11 feels like vengeance has been taken for the death of all those people,” Summey said.
U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, said he offers "heartfelt thanks to the Armed Forces and President Obama.
"The death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of American forces is not only a great victory in the War on Terror, but confirmation to freedom's enemies around the world about the inevitable end of a life of terror," DeMint said in a statement. "Like all Americans, my thoughts and prayers tonight go out to the families of the thousands of people who have been murdered by bin Laden and
his Al Qaeda accomplices, both in the terror plots he orchestrated and the ongoing war he started."
Assistant U.S. Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn of South Carolina said Bin Laden's death is a "tremendous victory."
"Justice has been served," Clyburn said. "Congratulations to President Obama, the intelligence community, the team who conducted the successful operation and the thousands of men and women in uniform who have fought over the last decade in the war against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
"Our lives were changed forever on September 11. And although many years have passed, we still struggle with the wounds ripped open that day. This finally brings some closure to those wounds. God bless the brave men and women and their families who work every day to protect our nation and its people. God bless America."