Victims' families

Families of some of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, including Rosemary Cain, center, gather at a news conference to voice their reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden. (Stephen Chernin / Associated Press)

Rosaleen Tallon kissed her three children good night and went to sleep feeling at peace. The terrorist responsible for the death of her brother, New York firefighter Sean Patrick Tallon, was dead. Her two boys and her little girl had been assured that the "bad man" behind the attacks that claimed their uncle was gone.

But when Tallon awoke Monday to the news that Osama bin Laden had been buried at sea, she was stunned. That was one corpse she would like to have seen for herself, Tallon said, her fiery words underscoring the change this suburban science teacher has undergone in the last decade.

"I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say I was a little dismayed — a lot dismayed," Tallon said as her 20-month-old son, Paddy, nestled in her arms while savoring a red lollipop. "I think that was too hasty. I would've liked the American people to say without a shadow of a doubt, 'Yes, that's him.' "

Photos: Osama bin Laden dead

Rosemary Cain not only would like to see the body, she'd have happily been the one to fire the shot that killed the man responsible for her son George's death. And Maureen Santora, whose son Christopher died in the World Trade Center, had a suggestion for where Bin Laden's remains should go: atop the garbage dump where debris from the shattered buildings, including bones of victims, were piled after the attacks.

It's not that these women are blood-lusting conspiracy theorists. If anything, their words Monday showed the sharp-edged realism with which they have approached the world since Sept. 11, 2001, a collective attitude that made their hours after Bin Laden's death perhaps as vexing as celebratory.