DALLAS — Former President George W. Bush has congratulated President Barack Obama and heralded the servicemen and women involved in the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.
Bush was in power nearly 10 years ago when agents from bin Laden's al-Qaida network hijacked planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, killing nearly 3,000 people in the worst terrorist attack on American soil.
Bin Laden was shot in the head by elite U.S. counter-terrorism troops in northern Pakistan. Four other people were killed in the raid, including one of bin Laden's sons.
"This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001," Bush said in a brief statement released Sunday night. "The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done."
About a dozen supporters of the former president gathered briefly around midnight Sunday outside his Dallas home. As a thunderstorm that brought hail overnight lasted into the morning, American flags remained planted Tuesday morning in the flower beds surrounding the gate on the road that leads to the house.
A handful of red, white and blue balloons were outside the gate, which was adorned with a sign that had tiny letters that read, "President Obama forgot to say ..." and then large letters that could be read from the road saying, "Thank you President Bush." A sign left on the rain-soaked road read: "Winning! Obama 1, Bush 0."
Bush's spokesman, David Sherzer, confirmed early Monday that the former president was at home Sunday night. Sherzer said Monday that Bush did not plan to make any more statements on bin Laden.