Friends Of Muskogee Soldier Killed On 9-11 React To Bin Laden's Death


Monday, May 2nd 2011, 1:35 pm
By: News On 6


Dan Bewley, News On 6

MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma -- The news that Osama bin Laden had been killed spread quickly across the world.  Many of the family members and friends of those killed during the 9/11 attack are calling it another step towards closure.

It was business as usual at Muskogee High School Monday. But among the kids in physical education, there are two teachers who work in a building that serves as a reminder of a life lost.

"He was just one of those kids you knew he was going to be somebody," Angelique Hillmon, childhood friend, said.

Angelique Hillmon and Coleman Hughes are childhood friends of Major Ron Milam.

"I guess, basically, we just kept each other out of trouble," Coleman Hughes said.

Milam, a 1986 Muskogee High graduate, was killed on 9/11; he was working at the Pentagon.

"I guess, when I saw that Osama had been killed it was just unbelievable it took ten years," Hughes said.

Hughes and Hillmon are now PE teachers and work at the Major Ron D. Milam Gymnasium on the Muskogee High School campus.  Major Milam was in the ROTC, ran track, and played point guard on the basketball team that finished second in the state in 1985.

There are memories of Major Milam everywhere at Muskogee High School. In addition to this gymnasium being named in his honor, the boys basketball program has also retired his number 13 jersey.

Both Hillmon and Hughes heard of the death of Osama bin Laden late Sunday night. They say ten years is a long time to wait, but were glad when they learned the news.

"I don't know, kind of a chill," Hughes said. "When you think about revenge or things like that, you don't think of it as revenge you think about what took them so long to find him."

"You don't want to celebrate someone else's death but when somebody is dear to you and close to you, you want revenge a little bit," Hillmon said.

Both say it's comforting to work in a building named for their friend, someone who will always be a Rougher.

"It warms your heart to know that he was protecting our country and what he did and he sacrificed his life for his country and he knew he was taking that chance when he joined the Army," Hughes said.

Major Milam was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. Each year, in Major Milam's honor, Angelique Hughes helps give a scholarship to a Muskogee graduate who is interested in joining the military.

9/11/2008 Related Story: Remembering 9-11