Each day that Jack Vander Baan looks at a portrait of his daughter, he sees a "casualty of the war on terror."
Vander Baan's 58-year-old daughter, Barbara Edwards, a foreign language teacher at Palo Verde High School, was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 77 when it slammed into the Pentagon during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
When reached by phone Sunday night at his home in Wayland, Mich., Vander Baan, 83, was glad to learn that Osama bin Laden, the architect of the terrorist attacks that claimed thousands of lives, was killed Sunday in a covert military mission in Pakistan.
"I wish it would have happened earlier," said Vander Baan, noting that almost a decade has passed since the devastating attacks unfolded in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. "I was thinking they (the U.S. government) gave up on him."
But bin Laden's death won't resurrect the victims, said Vander Baan, who keeps his daughter's picture in a place of prominence in his living room.
"It won't change anything," he said. "But it gives me satisfaction that the man is dead."
Edwards, a mother of three, had her arm in a cast and was on medical leave for the first weeks of school in September 2001. She had been in a vehicle accident in June and was visiting family friends while recovering from her injuries.
She had boarded American Airlines Flight 77 to return to the West Coast. Edwards was one of the people who died when the hijacked jetliner smashed into the Pentagon.
TEACHER, STUDENT REMEMBERED
Edwards' love for language is commemorated in the inscription, "We will never forget." It's carved in English, French and German in the Summerlin school's stone memorial to her and all other 9/11 victims.
The school library also displays a tribute to Edwards.
Also killed inside the Pentagon was Lt. Col. Karen J. Wagner, a 1984 graduate of the ROTC program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
A U.S. counterterrorism official said bin Laden was killed in a ground operation in Pakistan. Officials have long thought bin Laden, the most wanted man in the world, was hiding a mountainous region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
President Barack Obama announced his death to the world Sunday evening. A small team of military personnel carried out the attack and took custody of bin Laden's remains.
A jubilant crowd gathered outside the White House as word spread of bin Laden's death.
"Justice has been done," Obama said.
The development comes months before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, orchestrated by bin Laden's al-Qaida organization, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
The attacks set off a chain of events that led the United States into wars in Afghanistan and then Iraq, and America's entire intelligence apparatus was overhauled to counter the threat of more terror attacks at home.
NEVADA OFFICIALS WATCHFUL
As the news of bin Laden's death spread worldwide Sunday evening through television, the Internet and social media, Southern Nevadan officials reacted.
Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said law enforcement officials remain alert to any possible retaliation in Las Vegas, long thought of as a possible target for terrorists.
Gillespie said he was in contact with the Metropolitan Police Department's counterterrorism section, and there was nothing to indicate a need to raise the threat level in Las Vegas as of late Sunday.
"We also have to realize the threat is still there, and we have to stay focused," he said.
Gillespie said the continued cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement officials was the key to "keeping our country safe."
The sheriff also gave credit to the nation's intelligence community and military for their commitment to the fight against terrorism and hunting down bin Laden.
Las Vegas Fire Department spokesman and firefighter Tim Szymanski said his agency had about six people who volunteered to go to New York City after the attacks to help with the funerals for firefighters who lost their lives at the World Trade Center site.
He said bin Laden's death is not only meaningful to the firefighter community but to the entire country.
"This has hung over a lot of families," Szymanski said. "It will bring closure to a lot of people across the nation."
Las Vegas Review-Journal writer Francis McCabe and The Associated Press contributed to this report.