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Like many, I was shocked to hear the news of the death of Osama Bin Laden, the man behind the September 11th attacks on the U.S. Being in New York City made the news even more touching.
Within minutes, my boyfriend and I where making our way downtown to Ground Zero.
On social media, as people shared pieces of news, some wanted to know reactions from NYC. @TeriChristoph asked “How’s NYC reacting? Craziness in Times Square?” I tweeted what I could see as I walked through the streets of NYC on my way to my destination. The city was quite as New Yorkers were still learning the news late on Sunday night. I continued tweeting and Facebooking the images I saw throughout the night. (http://Twitter.com/BettinaInclan)
On the subway platform in route to Ground Zero I could hear a few people calling friends asking for updates as news was still breaking out. They couldn’t believe Osama Bin Laden was dead. It didn’t become real until President Obama gave his speech moments later.
A few hundred people had gathered at Ground Zero (PICTURE). Some came waiving American flags, some were lighting candles, most where cheering “USA” as fire trucks drove by honking in support. Shortly after the crowd erupted in song, singing the American National Anthem. (MORE: WSJ: Reaction To Bin Laden Death Rolls Across the Web)
Standing by the emptiness, once occupied by two massive twin towers, was a bittersweet feeling. You could tell that everyone sharing in the moment felt the same way, filled with mixed emotions, knowing we were celebrating the end of a saga in American history in the same place it sadly started.
Throughout the night the crowds sang patriotic songs like “God Bless America,” and tributes to the city with “New York, New York.” Many chanted “USA, USA,” “Na na na na, Good Bye,” and “We Got Him.” A young man wearing a shirt saying “I’m Muslim” climbed on some materials and for a while lead the crowd in cheers as he waved a large American flag. It was a joyous eruption of celebration in a place marked by so much sadness. The people came from all walks of life, of all ages, of all faiths, and from all parts of the world, all united to celebrate the news. They came to celebrate being American.
Later in the night, some came with signs “Obama Got Osama” and “Obama 1, Osama 0.” Two guys climbed up a light post with the home-made sign, leading the growing crowd, now a few thousand, with the chant “Obama Got Osama,” which later led in to “Yes we did.”
The most touching moment of the night came when the crowd observed a minute of silence, Thousands of people became silent as they honored the victims of September 11th. As we stood next to their final resting place, many raised their hands, some making the #1 sign with their fingers. (Twitpic as it happened from @JarrodAgen)
The moments after continued with songs, cheers, chants and with some people opening bottles of champagne and spraying the crowd.
It was a powerful experience being at Ground Zero. Once again, we were all Americans, we were all New Yorkers … Here are a few more picture in hopes you can share in what we saw and felt last night.
All in all, today is a good day for America!