President Barack Obama announced to the nation and to the world Sunday night that Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, is dead. Students at Ohio State abandoned their studies, sleep and law-abiding ways to celebrate.
Obama announced at about 11:30 p.m. that the U.S. had located bin Laden and killed him in a CIA-conducted operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, 30 miles outside of Islamabad.
“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-Qaida, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children,” Obama said in his address to the nation.
After an almost 10-year manhunt for bin Laden, the U.S. now has possession of his body.
“America can do whatever we set our mind to,” Obama said. “That is the story of our history.”
OSU students quickly began to celebrate.
John Bischoff, a third-year in hospitality management, said he was sacrificing study time to celebrate with his fellow Buckeyes.
“I mean, I’ve got a three-page paper due in about six hours, and I’m here. I mean, why not? America, f— yeah,” Bischoff said.
Hundreds of students joined Bischoff to share their excitement in Obama’s announcement. Fireworks were visible from all around campus, students jumped into Mirror Lake and general patriotic celebration commenced. Students at Mirror Lake chanted “USA” and sang “God Bless America,” “The Star Spangled Banner” and various other patriotic chanting.
The OSU Police Department was also on the scene monitoring the activities. Police seemed to be restricting access to the lake at about 2 a.m.
“That was the whole idea, to keep the peace,” said sergeant Marc Dopp of the Columbus Police Department. Dopp said there were no incidents to report.
USG president Micah Kamrass was one of the hundreds of students who jumped in Mirror Lake.
“I think it’s a great day for Ohio State and for all Americans and the way we celebrate is to jump into Mirror Lake,” Kamrass said. “(Jumping in Mirror Lake) shows that we care so much about our country. We have a lot of students here who were directly impacted by the attacks of Sept. 11. Everyone in here was impacted in some way so I think it shows that we care about our country and those around us.”
Not all students agreed with the actions of the students in Mirror Lake. Lauren Decker, a third-year in international studies, did not participate in the celebration.
“This is not the Buckeyes winning the National Championship. This is bigger and more important. This is the murder without trial of the head of an international terrorist organization,” Decker said. “Why are people jumping in Mirror Lake? President Obama did not step out for his address shooting off confetti cannons. This is not over.”
Obama said no Americans were killed and those involved took care to avoid casualties.
“We can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are,” Obama said. “We must remain vigilant at home and abroad.”
Ally Marotti, Jay Clouse and Michael Periatt contributed to this story.