Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tears, cheers, and high security at Ground Zero

Armed members of an emergency services unit watches over commuters at ground zero in New York on Monday, May 2, 2011. -- PHOTO: AP

NEW YORK - WEEPING with joy, cheering, and waving flags, thousands of people on Monday flocked to Ground Zero in New York to celebrate the killing of Osama bin Laden at the scene of his most notorious attack.

'This is a very emotional day,' cried Mari Zang, a 30-year-old attorney. 'I know I'm going to be really, really happy at some point, but first I need to get the emotion out.' Tears rolling down her cheeks, Ms Zang said: 'It makes me feel so proud to be able to say we didn't give up.'

Americans' emotional reaction to the late night news that their special forces had slain the Al-Qaeda leader reflected years of frustration at the way the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks thumbed his nose at his pursuers.

Nowhere was the emotion deeper than in New York where the mass slaughter of 9/11 dealt the city's famous buzz and self-confidence a staggering blow.

Police chief Raymond Kelly called the death of bin Laden a 'milestone' for the families of the victims. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said: 'New Yorkers have waited nearly 10 years for this news.'

Thick crowds poured along streets around Ground Zero, where after years of delays work on new World Trade Center skyscrapers is proceeding rapidly. Police, including helmeted anti-terrorism officers with rifles, were also out in force, directing the flow of pedestrians. -- AFP

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