Waving the national flag and chanting “USA, USA, USA!” thousands of jubilant Americans have flooded to the White House in Washington and Ground Zero in New York in spontaneous celebrations after the death of Osama bin Laden.
“We found him. He killed 3,000 people. It’s justice,” said 19-year-old student Jon Garcia, explaining he had come to the White House “to be a part of it. It’s very historic.”
Many of those celebrating had lost family members in the deadly 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, almost 10 years ago.
Diane Massaroli joined crowds clutching a photograph of her husband, Michael, a worker at the Cantor Fitzgerald brokerage, was killed when he could not escape from his office on the 101st floor. His remains were never found.
“I feel relief, I feel a closure that I thought I would never get,” she told NY1 television from Ground Zero. “I just had to come here now. People are taking pictures of me with the photo of my husband. They are all very sweet.”
Zeshan Hamdani, whose brother Mohammad died rescuing victims in the towers, also found relief in the death of bin Laden. “I am happy but I feel like crying. It’s great to finally get this guy,” he said.
Just minutes after midnight, New York Fire Department Ladder number 4 truck rolled into Times Square to be applauded by crowds.
“Ten years and finally we got him,” Captain Patrice McLead, from Ladder 4, said. “After all the loses and such a tragedy, we can finally be happy again. I hope this will bring a sense of closure, for all of us, including Muslims.”
“There is no greater joy in my life than to know that this man is dead,” said Harry Gomez, a National Guard trooper who was among the first on the scene on the morning of September 11, 2001.
In Washington, what started with a few dozen people had become thousands in a vast celebration in Lafayette Park outside the White House by the early hours.
“I had friends who lost families in 9/11. I never felt such emotion. In my town we lost a lot of loved one. It’s something they have been waiting for for so long,” said John Kelley, a 19-year-old student from New Jersey.
When the news was confirmed “my knees started shaking. I called my best friend. He lost his brother in the 9/11. He was overcome with joy. It’s too good to be true. It’s hard to believe.”
Across the country in Los Angeles, where the news was confirmed shortly before 9pm, a roar of applause could be heard from bars with TV screens on the Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.
“I’m really happy that this guy is dead because he killed so many people around the world. I’m glad that our nation is safe because of this,” said Cesar Guellory, 25, at the Cabo Cantina bar.
Even American sports fans erupted in joy at the news. Fans at the Philadelphia Phillies Major League Baseball game Sunday night began chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A” as the news spread through the Citizens Bank Park stadium.
Online, Twitter users flooded the service hailing the news, with more than 4,000 Tweets per second recorded during Mr Obama’s televised address confirming the al-Qaeda founder’s death, the social networking site said. [via Mashable]