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Middletown Residents React To Death Of Osama Bin Laden

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Fourteen-year-old Kristen Grazioso places balloons on a carved stone Monday, May 2, 2011, in Middletown, N.J., that  honors her father, who was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. (credit: Mel Evans/AP)

Fourteen-year-old Kristen Grazioso places balloons on a carved stone Monday, May 2, 2011, in Middletown, N.J., that honors her father, who was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. (credit: Mel Evans/AP)

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MIDDLETOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Nearly one-fourth of those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks were New Jersey residents.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney On A Day To Celebrate In Middletown

Middletown lost 37 residents that day, the second highest 9/11 toll among New Jersey towns. Only Hoboken, with 57, had more deaths.

Mark Lee still struggles with the loss of this best friend Paul Nimbley, who was killed on 9/11.

“We went to grammar school together and I was the best man at his wedding,” the Toms River resident said.

Lee’s visit to Middletown’s 9/11 Memorial Park was triggered by news of bin Laden’s death – the jihadist who orchestrated the attacks and Nimbley’s murder.

“Osama bin Laden, I’m very happy that he’s gone,” he said. “It’s not only the person, but it’s the symbol of what he stood for, and that’s been erased.”

1010 WINS’ Alice Stockton-Rossini reports: Uneasiness Spreads Across Middletown

The loss Middletown experienced that day, 37 residents in all, changed the community of New York City commuters.

“I was at the World Trade Center, coming out of the PATH at 8:46 a.m. on 9/11. Had the building come down right after the plane hit, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now,” said resident John McDonald.

“At least we can get him off the page and move on. I think people sometimes get stuck in a rutt about that sort of thing, and now we can move on,” said Lisa Bredbenner.

For Lee, that may or may not happen, but bin Laden’s death at the hands of American military forces, makes forging ahead that much easier.

“A little closure, I dont know. I feel helpless,” he said.

Christopher McNatta remembers the parking lot of the Middletown train station still filled with cars at the end of the day on Sept. 11, 2001 when it should have been empty.

McNatta feels that the U.S. burying bin Laden’s body within 24 hours of his death out of respect for his religion is in his mind unconscionable.

“I think that the American people deserved more. The people of this town deserved more than to make an exception for this man who killed so many people,” McNatta said.

“We don’t have an actual body. They actually buried the body in the sea to honor his Islamic religion which in my opinion makes no sense. Once you’re a terrorist you don’t get that honor anymore,” another Middletown resident said. “Bury him in a shark aquarium; that would bring some closure to the entire country.”

Others however feel U.S.officials did the right thing in honoring bin Laden’s religion.

“I think in the end we’ll have more peace of mind from having done that than if we’d held on to it,” one man said.

Will the death of bin Laden help you move on? Let us know below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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