Tom Coughlin's son is one of the fortunate survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers.
Tim Coughlin, the eldest son of the New York Giants head coach, was a bond trader for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter on the 60th floor of the South Tower when the planes hit the Twin Towers.
For nearly one agonizing hour, Tom Coughlin couldn't get in touch with his son before finally being able to get through to Tim's phone and learning that his son was making his way down to the ground floor and out of the tower.
So it's understandable that the Giants head coach got emotional when learning of the death of Osama bin Laden and seeing how many Americans have reacted to the news.
"It's not an easy thing to put into words because of all the emotions that run when you think of the flag, when you think of 9/11, when you think of Ground Zero, when you think of all the people that have been affected by this," Coughlin said in an interview with Sirius NFL radio on Monday. "But one of the things that does put the goosebumps on top of my goosebumps is the reaction of all Americans to this news and what is going on at the college campuses and what is taking place spontaneously in downtown New York City and Washington D.C., to the Mets-Phillies game last night. Those types of things, it just about takes your breath away."
Coughlin has a strong bond and intense admiration and respect for the men and women who serve in the armed forces. He has visited troops in the Persian Gulf in 2009 and often has service men and women visiting the Giants facility to watch practices. Coughlin is close with Gen. Ray Odierno and Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, who lost both of his legs in Iraq and was an inspirational fixture on the sidelines during the Giants' Super Bowl run in 2007.
"You think of the patriotism and the sacrifices that have been made by our service men and women, who have put their lives on the line every day, who need our tremendous support and will always get it from me and many, many Americans," Coughlin said. "To think that this has been accomplished and that this individual has paid the ultimate price and hopefully we will be able to continue to dismantle al-Qaida and any terrorist organization. Just the reaction of the American people has been an incredible thing for us to witness, and we are so thankful that the Navy SEALs were successful in this venture."
Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.