Monday, 02 May 2011

Americans Celebrate Announcement of bin Laden's Death

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Since the devastating attacks on September 11, Americans maintained one ultimate goal for the military endeavors that followed in the Middle East: to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. And when his death was announced on Sunday, May 1, Americans broke out in jubilee.

In Washington, D.C., hundreds of Americans gathered outside of the White House in the late Sunday hours even before President Obama officially proclaimed bin Ladens death on television. People gathered directly in front of the White House, with the crowd spilling over into Lafayette Park. Some draped large American flags over their shoulders while others handed out little ones for members of the crowd to wave.

Crowds broke out in impromptu renditions of God Bless America and the National Anthem. Others sang Na Na Na Na, hey hey hey, goodbye!

Video footage of the gathering reveals a significant number of young people, proudly waving American flags and cheering.  

Will Ditto, a 25-year old legislative aide, explained that he was getting ready for bed when he heard the report of bin Ladens death. He decided to leave him home and head to Capitol Hill to join the celebration. On the subway ride to the White House, Ditto shared the good news with fellow passengers.

Its huge, Ditto said. Its a great day to be an American.

Alex Washofsky, 20 and his roommate Dan Fallon, 20, students from George Washington University, celebrated and said, George Bush said, Bring him to justice, dead or alive, and we did it.

Fox News Geraldo Rivera reported from the D.C. crowd, comprised of mostly college students, which often erupted in exuberant chants of U.S.A! The students even asked Rivera to make an on-air request for their college professors to reschedule the following days final exams in honor of the breaking news, and Rivera happily complied.

Rivera turned to students in the crowd and asked them to describe their feelings. One male college student declared, I feel incredible. Its something Ive waited almost my entire life forso its really incredible that hes finally gone. A young female chimed in, This is absolutely amazing being here during this time.

Another male student told Rivera, We got him, Geraldo, we got him! This is a great day to be American and a great day to be alive! Another screamed, I love U.S.A! I love America!

One young military member said, I fought in Afghanistan. Its great to finally see this day. Others described the moment as surreal. 

A young Obama supporter told Rivera, Its a great thing for the Obama administration and a great day for the President.

Noting the crowds youth and jubilance, Rivera told Fox News:

It is so soothing in a way, as raucous as this crowd is, it is reaffirming to see the patriotism of these young people the fact that they care so deeply that they are celebrating an amazing victory of democracy and justice over terrorism. A mass murderer has been dealt the final blow and paid the ultimate price for what he did.

Spontaneous and largely youthful crowds also developed in Times Square and Ground Zero to cheer the news of the death of Al Qaedas leader. Like with the D.C. crowd, the mood of the New York City crowd was reminiscent to that of New Years Eve.

Those gathered in New York City waved flags and broke out in spontaneous renditions of Lee Greenwoods Proud to be American and the Star-Spangled Banner.  

Crowd members sprayed one another with champagne, jumped atop street signs and lampposts and waved large American flags.

An SUV belonging to the Fire Department of New York rode down the street flashing its lights and using its siren in celebration of the momentous occasion.

Lisa Ramaci, a New Yorker in the crowd whose husband was a journalist killed in the Iraq war, said, Weve been waiting a long time for this day. I think its a relief for New York tonight just in the sense that we had this 10 years of frustration just building and building, wanting this guy dead, and now he is, and you can see how happy people are.

Ramaci donned a shirt that read, Obama 1, Osama 0.

One New York newspaper, the Daily News, hit the streets in the early hours of Monday morning with a large photograph of bin Laden and the headline that reads, Rot in HELL.

Smaller crowds developed across the nation, including in Dearborn, Michiga a heavily Middle Eastern suburb thats home to one of the nations largest Arab and Muslim communities chanting USA! There, groups cheered and waved American flags while drivers honked their horns at the revelers.

Big screen TVs at local venues, which normally show sporting events, instead captured news coverage of the breaking news.

Fans at the New York Mets-Philadelphia Phillies baseball game on Sunday night began chanting USA! as the news of Osama bin Ladens death pervaded Citizens Bank Park. Fans at the park were captured on video checking their phones as news of bin Ladens death was breaking. Some even held up their phones, where breaking news pages revealing bin Ladens death could been seen. By the top of the ninth inning, the crowds intensity reached its peak, with the entire stadium erupting in USA!

Thousands of Penn State University students gathered in State College, PA. One was dressed in a Captain America costume. Fireworks were set off and patriotic chants lingered in the night sky.

Similar celebrations could be found at a number of universities across the country, including Ohio State University, where some students jumped into a lake on campus to celebrate the announcement of Americas victory over bin Laden.

Meanwhile, cadets at New Yorks West Point celebrated boisterously after hearing the news of bin Ladens demise, and can be seen on video running through the yard with American flags and glow sticks. They too chanted USA! and sang the National Anthem.

Overall, the ambiance permeating the United States on Sunday evening was patriotic and celebratory. The comradery found in the crowds that gathered across the country closely resembled that seen on September 12, 2001, when Americans united under the flag and forget about their differences.

Related articles:

Obama Says U.S. Killed Osama bin Laden, but Questions Remain

Bin Laden Killed by U.S., Obama Announces

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