Rolling Meadows war casualty reflects on bin Laden

  • Sgt. Bryan Anderson at home in Rolling Meadows.

    Sgt. Bryan Anderson at home in Rolling Meadows. Daily Herald file photo/Bob Chwedyk

  • Sgt. Bryan Anderson at home in Rolling Meadows.

    Sgt. Bryan Anderson at home in Rolling Meadows. Daily Herald file photo/Bob Chwedyk

Updated 5/7/2011 10:46 PM

The news of Osama bin Laden's death left former Army Staff Sgt. Bryan Anderson, horribly wounded in the Iraq War, with conflicted feelings.

He wanted America to "cut off the head of the snake" sooner.


"At this point, it's just the killing of another general," the Rolling Meadows High School grad said. "He's had 10 years to corrupt all these new kids coming up, have new leaders come up. Now, somebody is just going to come in and take his place."

Anderson, who just turned 30, praised all those involved in the raid into Pakistan that killed bin Laden. He doesn't blame bin Laden for what happened to him on Oct. 23, 2005, when a bomb blew up the Humvee he was driving while on patrol in Baghdad. Anderson sustained severe injuries, forcing doctors to amputate both his legs and left arm. It was his second tour of duty.

"The way I see my accident is that it's war," Anderson said. "It doesn't matter what side you're on, people are going to do stuff to mess up the other side; I understand that it's war."

After rehabbing at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Anderson returned home in 2006 to Rolling Meadows outfitted with prosthetics. His survival story merited a cover story in Esquire in 2008.

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He also showed interest in acting and appeared in the movie "The Wrestler" and on "CSI: New York." He was also featured in an HBO documentary, "Alive Day," which chronicled injured war veterans. "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini handled narration.

The news about the slain al-Qaida leader reached Anderson last Sunday night while he was at the movies. He said bin Laden deserved his fate and he is "absolutely happy" about the news.

However, seeing crowds cheering outside of the White House left the war hero uneasy.

"I think he deserved what he got, but do I necessarily want to celebrate someone's death? Not exactly," he said. "I'm happy about it, but I'm not going out of my way to celebrate."

Anderson and his former colleagues in the military exchanged texts after watching news reports.

He's currently working as a spokesman for Pride Mobility, which makes lift chairs to assist people like Anderson who struggle with walking. He splits his time between Rolling Meadows and Pride's offices in Exeter, Pa.

Anderson also works with USA Cares, a charity that helps military families. He said that he's healthy and still enjoying the rush of attention the public gave him when he returned stateside.

"I'm still riding the wave," he said. "You haven't seen the end of me yet."