News that U.S. special forces had killed Osama bin Laden in a firefight in Pakistan on Sunday stirred strong emotions across America, but on many college campuses the dominant mood was jubilation.
At Pennsylvania State University, the tenor of the celebration might have led an observer to assume that the Nittany Lions had captured a national sports title. Student journalists estimated that 5,000 to 6,000 people had flooded the streets of State College, Pa., to wave flags, blow vuvuzelas, and sing the National Anthem and the chorus of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA."
Onward State, a student periodical, described the rally as celebratory, but noted that some inadvertent damage had occurred: "A dozen students were seen jumping vigorously on an unfortunate Audi car parked near Cedarbrook apartments ... that is, until the roof of the car started to cave in, sending the partygoers sliding off in all directions like an avalanche."
At Ohio State University students plunged into Mirror Lake; at Appalachian State they rallied in Belk Library Commons and later marched up the hill toward the chancellor's house.
In addition to rallies outside the White House, and at Ground Zero in New York, spontaneous celebrations took place at the United States Military Academy at West Point; at the University of Maryland at College Park; at Illinois State, Iowa State, Radford, West Virginia, and Wake Forest Universities; and at Boston College, where students reportedly slipped into O'Neil Library through an emergency exit.
The Boston Herald reported that at least a thousand people, mostly college students, had converged on Boston Common to chant "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!"
One of the revelers, identified as Tangela Kindelo, seemed to speak for her peers when she told the Boston cable-news television station NECN, "We were kids when this all started, so to know that it's all over now, it's like, I have no words."