Loud, patriotic chants could be heard late Sunday night throughout campus as students reacted to the news of Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of U.S. counter-terrorism forces.
All attention turned to the television screen as President Barack Obama confirmed that al-Qaeda founder and leader had indeed been killed Sunday by U.S. forces in Pakistan.
“The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaeda,” Obama said.
The death of bin Laden comes after a decade-long hunt following the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City and Washington, D.C.
New York native and sophomore Matt Gage was in New York City on Sept. 11 when al-Qaeda terrorists flew two hijacked planes into the World Trade Center.
“I think it’s great that this has finally come to a close, and I think its great for America,” Gage said.
Vanderbilt students took a break from studying for finals to celebrate the news.
More than 100 students dressed in patriotic attire and chanting “America” paraded through Greek Row as fireworks were shot off from parking garages and front lawns. The national anthem was played on the Commons Center piano, and “God Bless America” played over the speakers in Stevenson Library.
“I think there has been a real surge of patriotism in the last couple hours,” said sophomore Rachel Morris.
The news quickly spread on social networking sites as students took to Twitter and Facebook to share their excitement.
“I learned about it through Facebook, I thought it was kind of a joke at first with a bunch of statuses popping up,” said sophomore Keith Neely. “It’s kind of the end of a long chapter in American history that started with the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and hopefully it’s a way we can end that chapter and move forward.”
Sophomore Colleen Boyle said she thought the spread through social media was interesting.
“It’s just really cool to see not only America’s reactions from the news but also Vanderbilt’s reaction at the same time,” Boyle said.
“I feel like it’s a great victory for the United States and it’s a great victory for the world and I am just really excited I got to be here to experience it,” said sophomore Liesel Burks.
Kyle Blaine is the news editor of the Vanderbilt Hustler. He is a member of the Student Free Press Association.