Airport security tightened in Burbank and long-held emotions were cut loose in Glendale as news surfaced Sunday that U.S. Navy Special Forces had killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
“It was the first time I cried in a long time, since we buried my brother,” said Brandon Valvo of Glendale, whose brother Carlton Valvo II, a graduate of the St. Francis High School in La Cañada Flintridge, died at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Valvo, who also attended Flintridge Prep before graduating from St. Francis in 1981, was killed while at work on the 105th floor of the north tower. He was one of more than 600 employees of the financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald killed during the attack.
Valvo was 38 at the time of his death and was survived by his wife Lori and daughter Dante, who was 7 at the time.
Brandon Valvo said a torrent of emotion coursed through him when he learned that bin Laden had been killed, from elation and long-simmering anger to gratitude for the work of U.S. armed forces and political leaders.
“It really comes down to it being bittersweet,” Valvo said. “It doesn’t bring Carl back, but it allows us to move forward.”
“We feel justice is served,” said Valvo’s father, Dr. Carlton Valvo of Glendale. “The emptiness is there, as it is in many families. This brings closure in many ways.”
As jubilant crowds took to the streets of Washington and New York following the announcement of bin Laden’s death, law enforcement agencies across the nation went on alert for possible Al Qaida reprisals.
Bob Hope Airport Police Chief Ed Skvarna told the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday that his officers beefed up security and began coordinating with agencies ranging from the FBI to the LAPD.
“We have put measures in place that will raise security…and visibility of police officers to make sure this place remains safe,” Skvarna said.
Airport officials declined to detail the steps they were taking.
Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) called the killing of bin Laden a milestone for the United States, especially for the families of 9/11 victims and armed services members who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“This is their victory, too,” he said. “I think we all share their sense of relief that he has finally been brought to justice, and optimism that we can bring others of his ilk to justice.”