November 23, 2014

College students celebrate after learning of Osama bin Laden’s death

Celebrations broke out in two Iowa college towns late last night and early this morning with the news American troops had killed 9-11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Around midnight, in both Iowa City and Ames, hundreds of students gathered to shout chants of U.S.A., to wave flags and to sing patriotic songs.

Josh Larson of Stratford, a senior at Iowa State University, joined the throng in Ames. “Probably a thousand students, possibly more than a thousand students congregated on central campus about midnight,” Larson says. “You could hear the cheers from a couple of blocks away.”

Larson says the students marched across the I.S.U. campus and through parts of Ames. “You hear a lot of chants, the U.S.A. chant, and every so often people would start chanting the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem,” he says. “It was very happy, very patriotic would be a good way to describe it.”

The scene was similar in Iowa City, where hundreds of students and others poured into the Old Capitol area. Near the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City, this unidentified young man said bin Laden’s death was cause for celebration.

“It’s awesome, you know what I mean? It’s almost the 10-year anniversary since the World Trade Center. It might have taken a while but we finally got him,” the man said.

This unidentified young woman was in a downtown Iowa City night club when the news came across a social media outlet that the terrorist leader was dead. “We saw on Twitter that Osama bin Laden was killed so we had them put it up on the TV,” she says. “It gave me chills and then, right away, we did shots. Then we played ‘God Bless the USA’ and ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.'”

Some 3,000 people died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City/ Jeremy Scavo, KCRG, Cedar Rapids