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Bin Laden death stirs emotions for family of man killed on 9/11

Published May 2, 2011 7:20 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The news of Osama bin Laden's death brought many emotions back to the surface for Elizabeth Anderson Howell.

Her then-26-year-old husband, Brady Kay Howell — an Idaho native with Utah ties — was killed when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, where he was working as a management intern for the U.S. Navy chief of naval operations.

On Monday, Elizabeth Howell's mother told The Salt Lake Tribune that her daughter had chosen to spend a quiet day pondering events.

"She was amazed at the announcement last night from President Obama," said Mary Elizabeth Anderson, speaking on behalf of her daughter. "We are all very grateful for the United States military for their courageous and skillful tracking."

Anderson said her family knows that bin Laden's death doesn't mean terrorism will stop, but it does show what the military will do to keep the world a better place.

The family heard the news Sunday night but didn't communicate with Elizabeth Howell until Monday morning.

"She understands there were many people who were affected by the terrorists' attacks and she knows that it has affected our country greatly," Anderson said, adding that was one reason her daughter wanted to keep to herself on Monday.

"It is not just about us," Anderson said. "There are a lot of people involved. We are grateful and appreciative of what the military had done."

Anderson said her daughter has commented in the past regarding bin Laden's life of illness, hiding and fear.

But Anderson added that many people like her daughter have moved forward with their lives by "not allowing bin Laden or the terrorists to crush her spirit or to make her ineffective on what she chooses to do."

Elizabeth Howell and her husband of four years lived in Arlington at the time of the attacks. She is a family nurse-practitioner who has taught, completed an LDS Church mission in Portugal and traveled to Haiti after the earthquake.

Now living in Utah, Elizabeth Howell works for the LDS Church in the neonatal resuscitation training branch, traveling to different countries to train doctors and nurses on how to save newborns.

Brady Howell's parents, who live in St. George, also discussed the news. His mother, Jeanette Howell, said the family was happy to learn such an "evil influence" had been removed. But she said the family had come to terms with the loss long before bin Laden's death.

"We are happy for the kind of legacy that Brady left," Jeanette Howell said "We didn't want Brady's four other siblings and their families to be bitter, vengeful or have angry hatred in their hearts. That's not what we're about."

"We realized that as good as the news is, it won't take away all the evil acts that have been perpetrated," she said, adding that there probably will be more terrorist acts in the future. "It would be nice if [bin Laden's death] made it all better."

She said Brady, who grew up in Idaho and graduated from Utah State University, would have turned 36 this spring.

rorellana@sltrib.com