"That he's dead is part of the healing process," said Harold Schapelhouman, chief at the Menlo Park Fire Protection District upon hearing the news that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. military-led firefight in Pakistan Sunday.
Chief Schapelhouman participated in recovery efforts at the World Trade Center in New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"But it really won't change what was done," he added. "This doesn't turn back the clock."
Each year, the 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.
Andy Garcia of Portola Valley lost his life in the United Airlines Flight 93 crash on Sept. 11, 2001, in Pennsylvania. Each year, his family commemorates his birthday (Aug. 28) with a memorial 5K run-walk-bike event on Labor Day in Portola Valley.
"The news of the death of Osama Bin Laden is a somber victory," said Dorothy Garcia Bachler, who was the wife of Andy Garcia. "While the author of the September 11th attacks is gone, we still have terrorism in the world. It is nice to see that the United States showed its supremacy once again and I am proud to be an American.
"My heartfelt thanks go out to the brave men who risked their lives to complete the mission given to them. This is another chapter closed in my life of a day that will continue to have historical significance. I hope that the bravery of all aboard United Flight 93 will never be forgotten."
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 Qaeda. 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.
Bay City News Service contributed to this report.