Night of May 1st at Ground Zero

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Bwog’s Zeitgeist Correspondent Jason Donenfeld snapped these pictures of the crowds at Ground Zero last night. Check out his full gallery of pictures and videos.

Update (May 3): In light of the debates going on in the comments, we thought this piece on student reactions across the country might be of interest.

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  1. Anonymous  

    look at these heroes

  2. Anonymous  

    I'm sure I'll get thumbed down for this, but I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. This type of raucous celebration at Ground Zero, with people drinking and screaming seems inappropriate. People have the right to react with all the conditional patriotism they want, I'm not even knocking that. I was just hoping the atmosphere at Ground Zero would be a bit more.. respectful? I'm certainly glad Osama is dead, but dancing on the site where he committed such atrocities doesn't sit well with me.

    /inarticulated, whatever, i just have a lot of feelings~

    • definite agreement  

      i think the us/them hatred is a bit out of control.
      i didn't go because i had no desire to be a crazy 'patriot' or to be associated with any that might have been in attendance.

  3. so  

    so not ok. ground zero never should be party central.

    • I think it's inspiring  

      it's people ralling around something which is terrible..but we killed one of the guys responsible, so it's a time for celebration and remembrance,

    • Anonymous  

      Solemnity and remembrance are fine and good but what some people who went through this disaster have always wanted was tangible retribution -- and we got a small measure of that last night. For some, honoring the dead means avenging their murders; that's what we finally achieved, at least symbolically. I understand your concerns about disrespecting ground zero, but I truly believe that celebrating the best of our country in the place of our greatest tragedy is the best honor we can give to our fallen brothers and sisters.

      • BC '14  

        Is this true, though? Most responses from people who lost others in 9/11 have been uncomfortable with this sort of raucous celebration, and instead feel that no justice has been served by the death of another. See CC'13

  4. Freedom!!!  

    Freedom tower is lookin' good!!!

  5. CC'13  

    i'm really having a hard time with these celebrations-as someone who lost loved ones on 9/11 i am happy he's gone, but the idea of celebrating the way we have been has made me feel very empty. nothing will fix the hole left by people i lost, and screaming about someone's death honestly felt like an affront to them. since i was 11 years old, basically, there has been so much unrest and violence and killing in the world, celebrating yet another death doesn't feel like a victory. our patriotic mobbing looks just like people who thronged the streets to celebrate what happened to us on 9/11. and frankly, i never thought i'd see celebrations like that at ground zero, especially over more bloodshed. it doesn't sit right.

    i know as a nation we're exhausted, we've been fighting so long and the world is a dangerous and scary place. i know it feels good to defeat a figure head, but i guess i wanted this to feel more like the beginning of peace and less like bloodthirsty vengeance.

    i love you columbia, i ran outside last night to find out what was going on, same as you all. i just hoped i'd find a few more people who were a little more thoughtful.

    hopefully i don't get flamed too much for this, but i figured i'd sign off with something that's been in my head all day-it's not meant to preach, i know plenty of you took lit hum and cc, just think about the implications, if not divinity. Mat. 5:43-45.

    • Anonymous  

      Although i'd never quote the bible about anything, I agree with most of this. Thanks for putting into clear words what I have been abstractly feeling.

    • Anonymous  

      I'm sorry for your loss; you articulated yourself beautifully. I choose to think about last night more like a celebration of America's solidarity than a celebration of our defeat of a murderer. Maybe this will have no effect on either war we're involved in; maybe it will actually have a negative effect on global security -- who knows. For now, all we know is that this made us come together as a country like no event has since 9/11 itself. For the first time in our generation, we've come together over a positive rather than a negative event. And maybe that's the first tiny step in the direction of peace.

  6. Anonymous  

    Why does last night look so much like this:

  7. Anonymous

    I cannot believe how reductive all of the discourse on this issue has been. To rejoice over the death of bin laden is to disregard the complexity of the situation; it is on par with thinking that 9/11 "justified" and "caused" the war, when there are so many power structures involved in the United States' military presence around the world.
    I have been disgusted with all of the simple, blatant nationalism and patriotism I've witnessed within the 24 hours or so. It's scary to see crowds form in the way that they did, chanting and celebrating death and murder. Though I do not wish to say that what happened was "wrong", because I do not advocate any system of adopted morals that would assign such values to actions, I do think that making the "war on terror" into a sporting event with a dead body as a trophy to a match that was anything but a game is stupid, simplistic, leading, and unexamined.
    It was frightening to see bodies chant, gather, and scream about the United States, when it is unclear, and will be forever opaque what this country is and does.

  8. Celebrating our military

    As trite as it sounds to anyone who hasn't served, our soldiers really do put their lives on the line with the American people and American nation in their hearts. Celebrate our first responders and military. As long as we don’t do any Terry Jones bullshit, I promise you they’ll appreciate it. They deserve to see the American people celebrating.

    Let the President be dignified. For the American people, keep it real. Show the world that we the American people are not ashamed nor apologetic of ourselves, our nation, and our place in the world. We are not the meek and chastened people that our nationalistic, chauvanistic competitors and frenemies would prefer to supplant in the world order. Show the world that the American people retain the same competitive fighting spirit, the same fire in the belly, that built our nation by conquering great challenges and celebrating victory over our enemies.

    Do it for our soldiers who are 'over there' competing for you. Celebrate loud enough for our soldiers to hear us in Afghanistan and everywhere else they're serving in the world. Many of them are our age. They've earned hearing and seeing the members of their generation celebrate them as heroes.

  9. Anonymous  

    its not a celebration of the death so much as it is a statement that you dont mess with the USA. we proved that we WILL hunt you down and gut you like the pig you are. thank you to all the armed forces who gave their lives in this effort and gave their lives so that we have the right to celebrate. to the people against celebration, these men and women gave their lives for our right to speak freely, the least you could do is use it

    • Oh. Please.  

      Excuse me if I don't think that the killing of bin Laden, ten years after 9/11, only to have him instantly crowned a martyr, will scare other terrorists into not committing and inciting further violence because the USA "WILL hunt [them] down and gut [them] like the pigs [they are]".

    • Celebrating our military

      Geez, it's like these people are ashamed that our guys took out bin Laden. They ought to be proud.

    • cc '11  

      I don't want to step on toes or condemn celebrations, but at the same time, as someone who lost family and friends on 9/11, it's hard to watch people dancing, taking pictures and going crazy at a site where I lost my family.
      I understand the excitement, and I understand the patriotism. But Ground Zero was not the place. After WWII, celebration broke out in Times Square (well, across the country/globe, but Times Square is our iconic local memory) - but no one lost their lives in Times Square.
      You were jumping up and down, blasting music and cheering on the site where many of us still have recovered nothing from our loved ones. That's our graveyard. It won't bring them back, it won't undo what we lost. There are a million ways and places to thank the troops for their bravery and sacrifice. I am not minimizing their effort, nor am I saying that it is wrong to sing their praises. But last night as I heard everyone screaming on College Walk and posting about heading down to Ground Zero, I couldn't help but think that it was disrespectful. It wasn't time for a party, it was a time for reflection. That's as close as many of us will get to a real grave. Celebrating a villain at a location of such pain and sorrow doesn't make us any better off, nor does it show any respect for what we lost. Sorry if none of that made sense, this all just makes me a bit emotional and I thought I'd throw in my two cents.

      • Celebrating on the victims' behalf

        We were also celebrating on behalf of the 9/11 victims and for them. Justice, and yes Vengeance, was theirs by right. Their nation promised it to them 10 years ago, and in some measure, their nation fulfilled that promise yesterday. We can only hope the spirits of the dead at Ground Zero were as pleased as the living.

        • Celebrating on the victims' behalf

          I don't include the spirits of the dead terrorists at Ground Zero, of course. They can now rot in hell with their master.

        • Anonymous  

          This is offensive and reductive. "Vengeance" is never fulfilling, but almost always something empty that perpetuates cycles of pain. "Their nation" might have promised it to them, but using that promise as a justification for the occupation of other countries for reasons most certainly other than vengeance is to utilize the deaths of those lost in 9/11 for interests of the US that extend beyond that of revenge (oil, money, power,...). I doubt the spirits of the dead at Ground Zero would have been pleased to see the people drunkenly screaming about the USA with the knowledge that their celebration was essentially empty given the thousands of other lives lost in the wars.

      • cc '11  

        I totally agree with you, and the celebrating and partying last night and tonight has been really disturbing to me as well. I'm very sorry for your loss, and obviously his death does nothing to change the fact of what happened 10 years ago. I was in NY on 9/11 and remember how scary it was as a kid and knew too many family friends and friends of friends who were affected by it. This provides a small bit of closure and a sense of justice, but there really is nothing worth celebrating, especially not at Ground Zero. It just strikes me as insensitive and disrespectful to be acting that way at the site of such a huge tragedy.

        • cc '11  

          Not to mention the very real concern about provoking retaliation. Just as the US struck back after 9/11, this is the type of event that tends to incite a reaction. We're all in NYC, and we shouldn't take that lightly.

  10. Jason  (Bwog Staff)  

    Regarding "solemn remembrance" vs "party central @ ground-0", I did observe a few things:

    - though not on tape, the "four more years" chant devolved into "four more lokos"
    - there was a liquor store open and making some real cash money as folks bought beers by the dozen and drank on the streets beside festive policemen
    - people flocked around the news cameras
    - there was some bimbo out there who kept carrying her american flag around with a slapped on constant smile trying to get in as many pictures as she could. her mom was out there with her talking to news people.
    - it was beautiful earlier and gradually became more debauched
    - my mom texted me to say that condoleezza rice was walking around by herself

    • eh human nature

      I hear rumors that the after-party of the ultra-dignified William/Kate wedding got pretty debauched, too.

      I say let the terrorists see the American people celebrate the death of bin Laden so they know that the American soldiers they are fighting are supported in their mission by their generation. American soldiers haven't always gone to war with that advantage.

      • Anonymous  

        there's no such thing as human nature, and not all soldiers are supportive. also, advocating support involves understanding what it is one is advocating support for. the wars have been anything but transparent, which makes real support impossible.

  11. celebrate with pride

    Some (not all) of the people fretting about the well-deserved celebration over killing bin Laden sound like the people who on the day of 9/11 wanted to reach out to the terrorists so they could tell us what we needed to do to fix our wicked ways and pass their judgement.

  12. Anonymous

    'What are you doing?' said he. 'Do you pitty him? If you heard the cry of "Mad Dog!" you would take your gun,-- you would unhesitatingly shoot the poor beast, who, after all, was only guilty of having been bitten by another dog. And yet you pity a man who, without being bitten by one of his race, has yet murdered his benefactor; and who, no unable to kill anyone, because his hands are bound, wishes to see his companion in captivity perish. No, -- no: look! -- look!'

    From Peter Washington's translation of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, "Chapter 36: La Mazzolata"

  13. Van Owen

    Bin Laden's ghost may lick my balls, and if this offends you, then you may also lick my balls...and taint.

  14. Anonymous

    "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

    • he never said that first sentence  

      but ^truth, anyway

    • Van Owen

      "Terrorists deserve no mercy."- Thomas Jefferson

      See, anyone can attribute a bogus quote to any historical figure. MLK never said, "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy," your lack of scholarship isn't surprising because you've always been mediocre. Bin Laden may lick my balls. And you my mediocre friend can lick my taint.

  15. Anonymous  

    So, who here is for the death penalty?

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