Osama bin Laden Dead: Recapping 24 Unforgettable Hours in History
A late-night announcement made from the White House’s East Room on Sunday set the world aflutter, and news of the death of Osama bin Laden quickly spread across the globe.
President Barack Obama announced Sunday night that bin Laden had been killed and his body taken into U.S. custody in Pakistan.
Word of the death of Al Qaeda’s leader quickly spread, and politicians, celebrities and athletes began releasing statements while crowds gathered across the country in celebration of bin Laden’s death.
President George W. Bush, in a written statement posted on his Facebook page, said Obama called him on Sunday evening to inform him of the terror mastermind’s death. Bush said, “This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001.” Read the full statement on Bush’s Facebook page.
By 2AM ET, U.S. officials said bin Laden, who Obama said was fatally shot in the head, was buried at sea. CNN reported that officials said bin Laden’s body was handled in compliance with Islamic tradition, which involves washing the body and placing it in a white sheet.
Donald Trump, via tweet, congratulated Obama and the U.S. military late Monday morning, saying, “We should spend the next several days not debating party politics, but in remembrance of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and those fighting for our freedom.”
On Monday morning, the NY Times published a lengthy obituary for bin Laden, discussing in detail his family upbringing and connections to Al-Qaeda. Read the full obituary.
Not long after word of bin Laden’s death began to spread, his supporters took to the Internet, vowing revenge and calling their leader a martyr. For the full article about the response of bin Laden supporters, visit CNN.
It also didn’t take long for bin Laden’s death to find its way onto bumper stickers, T-shirts and other novelties, with numerous sites selling an assortment of merchandise on Monday.
At Ground Zero, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg held a briefing Monday, addressing bin Laden’s death. The Wall Street Journal reported that Bloomberg said, “Osama bin Laden is dead and lower Manhattan is pulsing with new activity. Osama bin Laden is dead, and New York City’s spirit has never been stronger,” he said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
By Monday afternoon, several news sources were reporting that officials said they had matched DNA, confirming the man shot was indeed Osama bin Laden.
As news of bin Laden’s death settled on Monday, news agencies began focusing on the details of the raid in which he was killed, with it quickly being discovered that the raid was unknowingly live tweeted by an IT contractor.
Sohaib Athar, who goes by the name @ReallyVirtual on Twitter, tweeted about hearing nearby helicopter crashes during the raid.
On his Twitter Bio, Athar writes he is “An IT consultant taking a break from the rat-race by hiding in the mountains with his laptops.”
Athar complained on Twitter about the noise during the attacks, tweeting, “Go away helicopter – before I take out my giant swatter.” On his Twitter page on Monday, Athar posted photos he claimed to be of bin Laden’s hideout and said he has been bombarded by members of the media seeking interviews.
Also tweeting about bin Laden’s death before its announcement was Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock. About an hour before Obama’s announcement, Johnson tweeted, “Just got word that will shock the world – Land of the free, home of the brave. DAMN PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!”
As the news spread, but before Obama’s announcement on Sunday, a Facebook page titled “Osama bin Laden is dead” was created, and by Monday evening, had nearly 400,000 “likes.”
Social networking and news sites were overloaded with traffic Sunday into Monday. Twitter reported users posting messages at an average rate of 3,440 tweets per-second during Obama’s Sunday night address. On Monday, Twitter released this graphic of the site’s Sunday-night activity.
It wasn’t just Twitter that saw a spike in traffic. Akamai, a content delivery network serving about 20 percent of the Internet’s news stories and videos regarding bin Laden’s death reached its peak of more than 4.1 million page views per second on its client sites, according to the company.
Relive President Barack Obama’s address to the nation below.