Pride or Arrogance? The Latin Reaction to the Death of Osama Bin Laden

News Editor
On May 1, 2011, my Facebook was blowing up with statuses from Latin students. I nonchalantly read my newsfead. They read, “Go to your TVs right now!” or, “We got him! We finally got him”. I rushed to my television in hope to understand what my fellow students were talking about. It was clear when I saw the headlines “Osama Bin Laden Confirmed Dead”.
The following day, some students were ecstatic, while others didn’t care as much. At one of Latin’s normal gatherings in the morning, some students calmly walked in, while others chanted “USA! USA! USA!” Many were extremely excited for their country and ready to root for their nation. Yet, despite this feat, it was obvious that many of the students in the theatre were uncomfortable with what was surrounding them.
Osama Bin Laden made a famous name for himself after September 11th, 2001. Surely, all the students and faculty members in the high school can easily remember that day. That day the United States and its future changed. On September 11th, Al Qaeda, lead by Osama Bin Laden, attacked the United States of America.
On the morning of the 11th, two planes flew into the world famous Twin Towers in New York City, instantly killing 2,606 people in the towers. The flights together carried 147 passengers who were also murdered. The Pentagon was also attacked and 184 people died in the attack. There was also one group of Americans on board a United flight who patriotically fought against the hijackers on the plane which was supposedly heading towards the white house. Instead, they crash landed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania; the crash killed everyone on board.
Osama Bin Laden then went into hiding after these events, and the United States government searched for him for years, and was not successful until 2011. Osama Bin Laden was found in a compound in Pakistan and was killed by Navy SEALs.
The following day, at the Latin School of Chicago, was exciting for many and uncomfortable for others. Shelby Brody expresses her uneasiness towards the event, “We are right in celebrating a victory, especially one over a terrorist organization that has had such an obvious presence throughout our youth. That said, however, it made me uneasy to see Facebook statuses and jokes about someone’s death. There were chants of ‘USA’ when Osama bin Laden died, but even through all of that, even through what he did to us and our country, I think that melancholy is the proper emotion, not joy”.
Another Senior, Sean Chang, has similar feelings towards the death of Bin Laden, “It was strange, and a bit sad, honestly, to celebrate so arrogantly in a death. Mocking a death is a sad excuse for a joke, and I don’t know that it makes us any better than the truly bad, twisted people in this world”.
Some other students feel differently about the subject and were celebrating in a different way, “As far as celebrating his death, I think it’s simply a matter of celebrating the end of an error of terrorist activity. It isn’t uncivil, it isn’t insensitive, it’s simply a genuine expression of what people felt at the time when they heard that the man who was responsible for taking thousands of American lives could take no more” says Senior, Daniel Egel-Weiss.
No matter the opinion, the death of Osama Bin Laden was a victory for the American people, and somewhat of a relief for the families of the victims of the attack on September 11th, 2001.
While many may feel the need to celebrate, and others do the complete opposite, it is important to note that this will go down in United States history, and Latin students will always remember where they were when they heard President Obama say, “Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children”.