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New Yorkers Celebrate Osama bin Laden's Death

A man carries an American flag while walking to join a crowd gathered to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden at the construction site at Ground Zero in New York, May 2, 2011.
A man carries an American flag while walking to join a crowd gathered to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden at the construction site at Ground Zero in New York, May 2, 2011.
Peter Fedynsky

New Yorkers are celebrating.  Osama Bin Laden’s death seems to dominate every conversation, and people from all walks of life are overjoyed.

"Bin Laden’s dead!  Bin Laden’s dead!  God bless America!" one man said.

This New Yorker was among the thousands of people who converged Sunday night on Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center once stood, to celebrate the demise of the world’s number one terrorist.  Thousands more gathered at Times Square.

Alexandra Vukov, who is visiting from Michigan, said it seems strange to celebrate someone’s death.

"But it seems appropriate in this situation for the death of Osama bin Laden and justice to finally be served for the American people down here at Ground Zero," Vukov said.

At New York’s Fire Battalion Number Nine, the station that lost the most fire fighters on September 11, 2001, Maureen Santora, the mother of one of those men, Christopher Santora, remarked that bin Laden was killed on what many scholars say is the same day that Adolph Hitler died.  She said nothing will erase the memory of her son and that nothing will diminish her joy over bin Laden’s death.

"I'm certainly going to celebrate today," Santora noted.  "I'm in a festive, joyous mood, and there is absolutely nothing that could happen to me today that would rain on my parade.  I'm just thrilled to death!"

Santora's son, C. J. Asaro, says he does not feel any differently now that Osama bin Laden is dead.

"My father’s still not here.  My family is still together, unified, since his absence," Asaro said.  "But I’m going to continue every day like I have for the past 10 years, looking up to my father and hoping he’s looking back down at us."

At Ground Zero, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recalled America’s solemn commitment after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to bring justice to those responsible for the deaths of nearly 3,000 victims of terrorism that day.

"Yesterday, Osama bin Laden found out that America keeps its commitments," Bloomberg said.  "Today, we have come to the site that terrorists attacked in 1993 and again in 2001 to reaffirm our commitments to all those we lost, to the future we believe in, and to a more perfect and just world."

At the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said bin Laden’s death is a watershed in the global fight against terrorism.

"This is a day to remember the victims and the families of victims here in the United States and everywhere in the world," Ban said.

The Ground Zero celebration in the early hours of May 2 was held in the shadow of a new skyscraper under construction, Freedom Tower.   Soon it will dominate the New York skyline.  As Mayor Bloomberg put it, Osama bin Laden is dead and the World Trade Center site is teeming with new life.

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