MURRAY— A former United States Navy SEAL who is known for firing the shots that took down perhaps the world’s most well-known terrorist will be speaking next month in Murray. 

Danny Holt, the chairman of the Marshall County Republican Party, confirmed Wednesday that Rob O’Neill, who is credited with the killing of al-Qaeda terrorist network founder Osama Bin Laden in 2011, will be this year’s keynote speaker for the annual Night Before Fancy Farm event the Marshall party hosts with the Calloway County party. The event will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 2 inside Lovett Auditorium on the Murray State University campus. 

This is the second year in a row the GOP has hosted this activity in Murray. Last year, the keynote speaker was retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North. 

“We’re elated that we’ve got (O’Neill) coming to speak at this,” Holt said. “Having someone of O’Neill’s caliber is just amazing. He’s a person we’ve had an interest in bringing here, and now we’re going to be able to do it. 

“You’re talking about a real-life American hero, and I can’t wait to hear him speak.”

O’Neill’s story is one that will soon go to the silver screen. O’Neill’s biographical book “The Operator,” which chronicles the SEAL raid that ended with him reportedly shooting and killing Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America. Among those reportedly involved with this movie deal is Lorne Michaels, creator of the NBC hit show “Saturday Night Live.”

The attacks resulted in thousands of people dying as commercial jet airliners were flown into the twin towers of the World Trace Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington. A fourth plane was also headed for another high-profile target, perhaps the White House or the U.S. Capitol in Washington, when passengers became aware of what was happening elsewhere and attempted to storm the cockpit of their hijacked plane. United Airlines Flight 93 was then flown into the ground, crashing near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. 

“This is bringing someone in who can rally the people around the feelings they have for America,” said Murray’s Greg DeLancey, the 1st District chairman for the Republican Party of Kentucky. “This is someone who represents freedom and represents being free from terrorism.

“Lots of people can find merit in what he did and why he did it. In a single movement, he reshaped how we see terrorism.”

From the moment Bin Laden was named as the person behind the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. had sought to bring him to justice. Until the night of May 2, 2011, though, he had proven untouchable. All that changed when SEAL Team Six, of which O’Neill was part, raided a compound in Pakistan. 

It was inside that compound, that Bin Laden’s reign as one of terrorism’s most destructive forces ended. 

Holt said the O’Neill visit will include a $200 VIP package that includes the chance to meet him backstage. He said only a few of those were available as of Wednesday afternoon. 

Other ticket prices will be $60 and $30. For information on tickets, visit Murray,KY in the location search) or phone 270-205-0154. Tickets are also available at First Choice FireArms, 1205 Stadium View Drive in Murray, or the headquarters of the Marshall County Republican Party, 120 E. 12th St. in Benton (10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays).  

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