Nine years. Seven months. Twenty days.
That is the amount of time that had passed since the 9/11 attacks, the event that changed history forever. It is also after that time that government officials announced the death of Osama bin Laden, founder of the jihadist terrorist organization Al-Qaeda.
On May 1, 2011, in a national speech from the White House, President Barack Obama announced that troops have killed bin Laden after almost a decade of search and efforts from military and counter-terrorism agencies. The next day, DNA testing confirmed his death, said a senior administration official to the network CNN.
Bin Laden was found at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to Obama. Government officials have long speculated that the border was a hiding area for bin Laden.
Obama said that he had gotten a lead about bin Laden’s hiding area in late August of 2010 and proceeded to alert his team of national security to put bin Laden’s capture as top priority.
Last week, a special forces team prepared to launch the operation but was delayed until Sunday. After a firefight that lasted 40 minutes, bin Laden was shot in the head and killed, a congressional source familiar with the operation confirmed.
Three other unidentified men–one being bin Laden’s son–and a woman were killed. No American soldiers have been harmed from the operation, which was ordered by Obama and executed by “brave” men and women.
In his speech, Obama remarked that this occasion is a “significant achievement” and for both Pakistan and the U.S., “a good and historic day for both of our nations.”
Obama also said that he wanted to make clear the fact that the war is not against Islam; it is for peace and human dignity. He stated that bin Laden “was not a Muslim leader but a mass murderer of Muslims.”
In concluding his message, Obama said that the U.S. must increase its resolve, while remembering the efforts of all who had died in the nation’s path to finding peace. According to the president, the country will continue to “protect our citizens, our friends and our allies.”
At the end of his awaited speech, the president recited a verse from the Pledge of Allegiance: “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Reported by CNN, “a senior administration official told reporters that U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration did not share intelligence gathered before the attack on bin Laden in Pakistan with any other country – including Pakistan – for security reasons.”
The reaction to this breaking news has very much been intertwined with today’s technology across the nation.
Facebook statuses were updated with simple phrases such as “Gotcha” to funny catchphrases of internet culture like “Obama is dead. We so excited, so excited,” which refers to lyrics of Youtube’s Rebecca Black. Multiple ‘like’ pages have also been established.
Fairfield University student Eric Bernsen ’13 said on his status: “dont be ignorant…is the face of a guy that you’d be celebrating about gaining more control? osama being dead is a historic moment, but nothing to dance in the streets over while US troops and innocent people in the Middle East are still dying every day.”
Tweets about the news bombarded Twitter, with comments from students, celebrities and media sources being updated by the minute.
Other networks, like ESPN, also kept watchers updated with news of Obama’s speech.
When news spread, students celebrated on the Fairfield Quad by singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” chanting “U.S.A.” and blowing on horns. The Department of Public Safety seemed to let the incidents slide, but later asked students to disperse for causing noise.
At one point, Father Michael Doody, SJ , who lives in the Gonzaga Hall, peered out of his window, with students kneeling on one knee below him. The crowd gradually went silent.
One person yelled out, “Give us a prayer, Father!”
Then, he said, with a smile on his face:
“I think the prayers have been answered.”
Some students aren’t as welcoming to the news and Obama’s speech as others and remarked that the symbolism of bin Laden’s death is overshadowed by the crucial and dangerous years that are ahead for the nation.
Ali Famigletti ’14, who is also a Republican, criticized the president’s delivery. “It is unacceptable that Obama is going to stand there and say he was the one making strides in the war against terrorism,” she said. She also said that much of the effort to find bin Laden should be rewarded to former president George W. Bush.
Lindsay Wrinn ’14 echoed her friend’s sentiment. “Obama is gonna ride this as much as he can,” she said.
Irrespective to their political opinions, they said that May 1 is a symbolic day for everyone.
Homeland Security officials now say that the nation needs to be prepared for retaliation from hostile countries.