This post was written by Hatchet reporter Kelsey Martinez.
Thousands of students shut their books and flocked to the White House following President Barack Obama’s announcement of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s death.
At about 11 p.m., revelers draped in flags were already swarming the gates, shouting “U.S.A, U.S.A!” and singing the national anthem in celebration of the death of the long-sought terrorist.
American forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan killed the al-Qaeda top-man Monday, Obama said in a late night address from the White House.
Freshman John Kelley from northern New Jersey said towns neighboring his home were affected by the Sept. 11 attacks.
“My best friend lost family,” Kelley said. “When I found out about this around 10:30 p.m., my knees went weak and I called my friend and told him I loved him, packed up my books and within five minutes I came here.”
The spirited crowd grew larger throughout the course of the night, extending to the back of Lafayette Park. Some students could be seen climbing trees and light posts while waving American flags.
Sophomore Davey Knific stormed the White House as well and said the excitement represented a celebration of America as a nation.
“We’re here celebrating someone’s death, which is a negative thing, but we’re celebrating our country as a whole,” Knific said. “There is unity whether you are Democrat, Republican or Independent.”
Sophomore Daniel Bassali drove home to Fairfax, Va. for the weekend, but upon hearing the news of bin Laden’s death, he immediately drove back to campus and ran to the White House despite a sprained ankle.
“It’s not that the war on terror is at all over, but this gives us a sense of closure,” Bassali said.
This post was updated May 2, 2011 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly spelled freshman John Kelley’s name as Kelli. The correct spelling now appears in this post.