On Saturday, Dec. 30, the world witnessed the execution of one of the cruelest dictators of the past 50 years.
Waking up Sunday morning and glimpsing "SADDAM EXECUTED!" in bold print on every newspaper brought waves of disbelief, relief and painful memories.
One memory came from nearly four years ago, not long after the initial bombings of Iraq began in March 2003. At this time, we all still thought we would be out of Iraq in a matter of weeks.
I was driving to school one morning, listening to the radio. The disc jockey said that it was believed that a bomb had successfully targeted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The station then played the familiar tune from "The Wizard of Oz," only instead with munchkins cheerily singing: "Ding, Dong, Saddam Hussein is dead!
At my young age, I remember laughing and thinking, "Great! Now this dumb war can be OVER!" In my mind, with the dictator defeated, we had won! Easy as that.
But the dancing in the streets would have to wait. It was a false call. The Wicked Witch was still flying high.
It wasn't until Dec. 13, 2003, that U.S. forces pulled Saddam from his underground bunker.
We all know what happened next. Three years of standing trial, hunger strikes, and a scandal over humiliating photographs.
On Nov. 5, 2006, Saddam was found guilty of murdering 148 Shiite Muslims, including children, in Dujail, Iraq, in 1982 after an assassination attempt. A month later, Saddam, shown smiling, scowling and taunting onlookers in footage now infiltrating the Web, was hung at approximately 6:05 a.m. Saturday and buried in his hometown of Tikrit the following day.
Certainly, now came the dancing in the streets?
Shiite Muslims, victims of Saddam's genocidal tyranny for more than three decades, celebrated by beating drums, cheering and, dancing in the streets.
Saddam's legions of Sunni supporters took to the streets as well, waving flags and vowing revenge for their fallen leader.
A Sunni rebellion has so far seemingly been avoided. The Iraqi death toll the next day was not far off the daily average; 92. Eighty car bomb deaths and 12 mangled torture victims. Crisis averted!
Almost simultaneously, it was reported that the 3,000th American troop was killed in this four-year long struggle in Iraq.
As children, we were taught through fairy tales and storybooks that once the wicked witch or evil queen that terrorized the land was heroically defeated, everyone lived happily ever after.
Where's the happily ever after?
As we have been taught, one quick fall should usher in peace, prosperity, and happiness.
But one thing we have learned during these past few years is that life is not a fairy tale, and no yellow brick road or ruby slippers will lead us out of war.
Carlene Miller is a freshman at Alden.