The first thing Katie Graham heard over the clock radio Monday was news of Osama bin Laden’s death.

Graham, of Gorham, said it was shocking to learn that bin Laden had been killed nearly 10 years after her brother, Steven Ward, died in the Sept. 11 attacks. She felt relief and immense gratitude to the nation and its military for not giving up on the hunt for bin Laden.

But in a fundamental way, nothing has changed for her and her family.

“I don’t think I’ll ever have closure. I’ll always miss my brother,” she said, conceding that as an occupational therapist and mother of two, she still hadn’t had time to absorb all the details by midafternoon.

Around the state Monday, Mainers whose lives were profoundly affected by the attacks masterminded by bin Laden reflected on his death. There was a mixture of relief, thankfulness and the knowledge that bid Laden’s demise could never make up for the absence of their loved ones.

Susan Moore of Windham, Graham’s older sister, believes it’s important that bin Laden was held accountable, no matter how long it took. Although she doesn’t want to be the kind of person who exults in anyone’s death — she’d have preferred bin Laden was captured and jailed — she is glad he’s been taken down.

The news was certainly on her mind Monday, but Moore said it hasn’t brought her life to a standstill.

“I don’t know that it’s a huge milestone for us,” she said of herself and her family. “I think it’s a good thing. It doesn’t bring anyone back.”

Steven Ward was 33 when he died in the attacks on the World Trade Center. The Gorham High School graduate had started a job at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. in August 2001. His sisters are organizing the 9/11 Memorial 5K Run/Walk to benefit the Stephen Gordon Ward Memorial Scholarship Fund this year in Gorham.

Alton Brown of Dover-Foxcroft remained skeptical about the veracity of the news — and the motives of politicians — Monday morning. He said he’d be rejoicing if he could believe the news 100 percent. His half-brother and his wife — Robert and Jacqueline Norton of Lubec — were aboard the United Airlines flight that struck the south tower of the World Trade Center.

Brown said he had not closely monitored the hunt for bin Laden since their deaths.

“I wrestled with that for quite some time after it happened. It gets me all nerved up and I don’t like it,” he said.

Paul Jalbert of Lewiston came across the news on TV by chance Sunday night.

“I said, ‘Great. It’s finally happened,’ ” he said. “Did I stay up to watch the rest of it? No, because that was the most important part of it, once they made the declaration that he was dead.”

Jalbert’s brother, Robert, was on the American Airlines jet that crashed into the north tower. Robert Jalbert, 61, of Swampscott, Mass., grew up in Lewiston and graduated from St. Dominic’s Regional High School.

Janet Flyzik’s daughter, 40-year-old Carol Flyzik of Plaistow, N.H., also was on the American Airlines flight. The Parsonsfield resident said her grief has long been replaced with enjoying life, and bin Laden’s death won’t change that.

“You have to move on. You cannot sit and obsess about it and dwell on it,” Janet Flyzik said.

Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari joined the other hijackers on American Airlines Flight 11 after flying to Boston from the Portland International Jetport. The airline agent who checked them in at Portland said he was feeling “great joy.”

“I thought of Atta and Alomari and how they were dead, and I was glad to see bin Laden joining them — and I doubt they have virgins with them, either,” Michael Tuohey told The Associated Press.

Tuohey, who retired in 2004, has relived his brief encounter with the hijackers for nearly a decade. Accidental glimpses of footage of the attacks cause him to break down into sobs. When he heard about bin Laden’s death, he felt like making a toast with a glass of champagne.

In the aftermath of the attacks, Capt. Benjamin Keating of Shapleigh was deployed to the mountains of Afghanistan near the Pakistani border. At the time, in 2006, the thinking was that bin Laden was hiding out in the region, said his father, Kenneth Keating.

“Ben would have been thrilled if they could have found him, but I don’t think that was his primary passion while he was over there,” Keating said. “I think Ben was more passionate about the effort to win hearts and minds over there.”

Benjamin Keating died in 2006 when his truck rolled over — either after hitting something in the road or swerving to avoid it — while on assignment with the 3rd Squadron of the 71st Cavalry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division.

After hearing about bin Laden’s death, the Freeport Flag Ladies — Elaine Greene, Carmen Footer and JoAnn Miller — threw on their patriotic gear without stopping for breakfast or a cup of coffee. They headed up the hill at the corner of School and Main streets where they have been waving flags with fervor at least once a week since the attacks in 2001.

“We weren’t up there to celebrate the killing of this man. I don’t believe Americans were after revenge. We were celebrating the justice (that this) represents,” Greene said.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at: [email protected]

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: [email protected]