The response to President Barack Obama’s announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death was swift. Within minutes of his speech, throngs of people, mostly college students, had gathered at the gates of the White House waving flags and chanting as images of the scene was played across millions of televisions. Whether the subsequent celebratory response around the nation came as a result of this initial movement in Washington, D.C. is yet to be seen. What is certain, however, is that the night is one that participants will never forgot.
Cody Scott is a sophomore international affairs major at George Washington University. Along with some of his fraternity brothers, he attended the festivities in D.C. Sunday night. Read more about what Cody experienced at the scene:
After hearing that Obama would be giving an unannounced speech at 10:30 p.m., my friends and I all met up in one of their rooms to watch what would happen. We heard the rumors about Osama and we were ecstatic when several news channels confirmed the events. Right after Obama gave his speech, my friends and I grabbed American flags, and ran for six blocks straight to the White House where there were already thousands of people. We pushed our way up to the front center of the main gate.
The size of the crowd was unreal, with estimates around 4,000 in size (most of them being college students I’m sure). People were screaming, cheering,hugging, singing, laughing, crying, jumping, climbing and celebrating. It was a continuous wave of the National Anthem, “USA-USA-USA”, “Obama-GOP”, and any combination of patriotic, suedo-political chants. American flags were everywhere, people were climbing fences, trees and lightposts. Surprisingly, Secret Service let it happen! After a few hours at the celebration, my friends and I walked towards the main road where cars were driving through packed with people cheering as well.
Cars had flags flying off of them and people were reaching out giving “high fives” to the crowd as they passed. My friend and I grabbed an American flag and ran up and down the crowds and along the street cheering and waving and shouting with anyone and everyone. It was a night to remember. It was a night where people were united even in a political hotbed such as D.C. In a word, it was America.