"While the author of the Sept. 11 attacks is gone, we still have terrorism in the world," Dorothy Garcia Bachler, who was married to Portola Valley resident Andy Garcia when he died on United Airlines flight 93 nearly 10 years ago, said Monday.
Bachler was among many with local ties who responded to the Sunday death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs.
"It is nice to see that the United States showed their supremacy once again, and I am proud to be an American," said Bachler, who called bin Laden's death a "somber victory."
"My heartfelt thanks go out to the brave men who risked their lives to complete the mission given to them.
"I hope that the bravery of all aboard United Flight 93 will never been forgotten."
Bachler and her daughter Kelly Garcia Arrillaga have been involved in nine annual 5K run-walk-bike events in memory of Garcia and his fellow passengers. A Flight 93 Memorial at the crash site in Shanksville, Penn. is set to be dedicated this year on the tenth annual observance of the terrorist attacks.
Calling al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's death of "enormous symbolic significance," Stanford University terrorism expert Martha Crenshaw raised the question Monday as to whether al-Quaida's second-tier leaders would be able to replace bin Laden.
Al-Quaida has grown increasingly decentralized over the years, with its many global subsidiaries growing in operational importance, said Crenshaw, a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and professor of political science.
However, "if you look at all the failed and foiled plots against the west since Sept. 11 -- particularly against the United States -- a very large number, and potentially the most serious, involved operatives trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan who had links to al-Quaida Central back in Pakistan.
"So (bin Laden) was still a real force," Crenshaw said.
Bin Laden had charisma within the al-Quaida movement that others who might replace him do not, Crenshaw said.
"Bin Laden was regarded as sort of above the fray, and had enormous moral authority within the movement.
"There are still second-tier leaders who are out there -- though a lot have been killed -- but the question is, 'Would they have the skills to take over, or would they now be frightened to take over?'"
Crenshaw called the story of bin Laden's demise "an astonishing story of long, patient tracking, through the courier" and an extraordinarily risky raid.
That he had been living in relative splendor rather than hiding in mountain caves also will be surprising to many people, Crenshaw said.
Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Thomas Henriksen, a scholar on U.S. policy toward terrorist havens, said bin Laden's death is "a very significant victory," but not the final victory, in the war on terror.
It causes practical, as well as psychological and moral, problems for al-Qaida because of bin Laden's charismatic stature within the organization, he said.
Other current and former political figures also weighed in Monday on bin Laden's death.
U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) released the following statement Monday:
"It was a great relief to hear the news that Osama bin Laden was taken after an almost decade-long hunt. No one could have received this news with greater relief than the families who lost their loved ones in the worst attack in our nation's history.
"As an eight-year veteran of the House Intelligence Committee, bravo to our intelligence community for their superb work and the work and courage of America's military forces. When America decides to do something, we have the capacity and the tenacity to do so. We can finally say, 'mission accomplished.'"
Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009 and now a professor at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, issued this statement:
"The demise of Osama bin Laden is a tremendous victory for the American people.
"Justice has been done and we are all indebted to the American military and intelligence community for their skill and dedication. Nothing can bring back bin Laden's innocent victims, but perhaps this can help salve the wounds of their loved ones."
"I am overwhelmed with pride in America and in those who protect us. We are all united tonight in gratitude and love for our country."
Harold Schapelhouman, chief at the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, participated in recovery efforts at the World Trade Center in New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"That he's dead is part of the healing process," he said. "But it really won't change what was done," he added. "This doesn't turn back the clock."
Each year, the fire district has observed the anniversary of the attack by placing 343 American flags in front of fire stations, one for each firefighter killed in the rescue effort.
Samina Sundas, a leader of the local American Muslim Voice Foundation, urged people to continue building a "culture of hope":
"Sept. 11 was one of the worst tragedies of our nation, that tragedy was used to create a culture of despair, division, hate and violence around the world. Let us hope that we can all focus on building a culture of hope, inclusion, love and peace now, since Osama bin Laden is killed."
The foundation, Sundas said, has been committed to build an inclusive, peaceful and beloved nation since its inception of July 2003.
State Sen. Leland Yee, whose district includes Portola Valley and Woodside, said in a statement: "This is an emotional and historic day for our country and the world. I am proud of our men and women in uniform and the action of our President.
"I am hopeful that this achievement helps brings relief and closure to those who have lost loved ones at the hands of al Qaida. As President Barack Obama so eloquently said, the demise of Osama bin Laden should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity."
Gov. Jerry Brown issued this statement Sunday: "Tonight, Americans can be grateful that President Obama brought bin Laden to justice. Our friends as well as our adversaries throughout the world can be assured of America's resolve in combating terrorism and protecting the values of democracy and freedom."
"Anyone who witnessed the events of 9/11 wanted to see a day of justice. This is that day," said Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo.