In Mid-Missouri, bin Laden’s death elicits feelings of sacrifice, elation and gratitude

For Mid-Missouri resident Dale Deraps, Osama bin Laden’s death was sense of triumph, tempered by the realization of the war’s human toll — including the ultimate price paid by his own son.

Lance Cpl. Leon Deraps was killed five years ago, at the age of 19, by a roadside bomb while he was serving in Baghdad.

“On one sense, it’s a real triumph that we were able to put an end to this guy,” he said. “It’s like beating Hitler to the punch before he” committed suicide. “But it’s pretty bittersweet when you consider the price that’s been paid. It came at a pretty dear price. And I don’t really think we’re done yet.”

Dale Deraps and his wife, Sandy, live in Jamestown. They have two other sons, both of whom seriously considered military service before selecting other careers.

He recalls part of Leon’s reaction after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, was that the United States needed to respond, and needed payback.

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“I don’t believe he ever had any doubts as far as let’s say the worthiness of our country and that we were the good guys,” Dale Deraps said. “But he was raised in a small town and small school, where you could still be an unabashed patriot.”


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