WASHINGTON, May 2, 2011 (AFP) – Americans erupted in joyous celebration in Washington, New York and across the country early Monday following the death of Osama bin Laden.
Crowds descended on the White House waving Stars and Stripes flags even before the Al Qaeda’s killing was announced by President Barack Obama, chanting “USA, USA” and punching the air.
By the time he confirmed details in a hurriedly-organized TV address hundreds of people had gathered in a party atmosphere in Lafayette Park, singing The Star Spangled Banner
In New York, where some 3,000 people died when Al Qaeda hijackers crashed two commercial airliners into the the Twin Towers, tourists and New Yorkers descended on Times Square as well as at Ground Zero.
“Itâ€™s a miracle,” said New Yorker Monica King, 22. “The attacks changed New York and now ten years later we had our last word,” she added, saying: “Now we want to celebrate.”
Gary Talafuse, visiting from Texas, said Americans “feel a lot of national pride.”
“This may not change anything in Al Qaeda tactics, but after billions of dollars invested, this is a big loss for Al Qaeda, and that brings some degree of reward to our efforts,” said the 32-year-old.
Even the New York Police Department, usually low key, parked a car in the middle of Times Square and stared talking to people, laughing and posing for photos.
In Los Angeles, where the news was confirmed shortly before 9:00 pm, a roar of applause could be heard from bars with TV screens on the Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hoolywood,
“After so much time trying to get Bin Laden this is a big surprise and amazing news. Terrorism is down, and Obama’s speech was great!” said Mick Pleasnt, 26, at the Cabo Cantina bar.
“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 save because of this,” said Cesar Guellory, 25.
Carol Morrinson, 35, said she had voted for Obama. “He’s showing us how strong he can be … Today we can say that we are safe. I’m proud of United States,” she said.
The Internet, including the Twitter and Facebook social networking websites, were also deluged with reaction to the Al Qaeda leaders death, killed by US forces in Pakistan.
“Finally! I can now sleep tonight knowing this. He was hiding for years and was finally caught and killed. I am so happy right now,” said Stewie, on one Yahoo message board.
Kenneth Specht, a New York fireighter on 9/11, said he was “proud to be an American — and paid tribute to the victims of the attacks in New York and Washington.
“Tonight they are first and foremost in our minds,” he told CNN.