By: Lindsay Cobb
Shortly after the student population got the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by America the residents of Morgantown could here honking and distant screams of joy outside. I personally wasn’t sure what the commotion was about until one of my roommates came running inside- “did you hear!!?” Once we all realized what was going on we turned on the TV to catch a replay of President Obama’s speech announcing the terrorist’s death. We decided we needed to join the celebration. Four of us hopped in a car and drove up to Grant Street to start… that is as far as we got!
The intersection of Grant and Third was one of several gathering points in Morgantown last night. High Street and Willey Street also had pretty large crowds. The DA reported a total of 22 fires last night. By one AM traffic was at a stand still on Grant and there were hundreds possibly a thousand plus students there. People had abandoned their cars and joined the huge crowd that can only be described as ecstatic. Many students at WVU were somewhere between the ages of 9 to 15 when the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001. Most of us probably remember where we were when we heard that there had been a terrorist attack. While many of us (including myself) may not have realized the severity of the situation when it happened, over the next ten years we would all grow to be very angry about that day. Americans mourned the loss of nearly 3,000 people on 9/11 and last night justice was served!
WVU students showed their celebration in true Mountaineer fashion! Despite the looming Monday morning finals- beer came out, guys inevitably lost their shirts, chants rose from the masses (they ranged from passionate “USA”s to inappropriate suggestions that all the ladies should show some skin… for America, of course!), and as everyone expected- couches went up in flames!
Before I get to the burning though, I’d like to mention that everyone, while very rowdy, was united at that moment. College students (especially us Mountaineers) can be a little immature and kind of stupid, but we have an overwhelming sense of pride for our nation and a true respect for those who have been lost to acts of terrorism. People were waving flags and everyone joined in several times to sing the ‘Star Spangled Banner’. Many people were embracing, and everyone was smiling.
So about that couch… and mattress… and shopping cart. The couch came flying into the crowd, a couple kids were trying to push it into the middle of the intersection. We had seen police down the street, but they hadn’t taken action, yet. From where I was standing I could see some gasoline being splashed, and then there was fire!! Soon a mattress was brought from the other direction. Thats when that blaze got really big! Later when I was able to get closer I could see that a shopping cart had been added to the pile. As our second reprisal of the National Anthem ended fireworks went up in the air! Everyone loved it. Unfortunately when students set off fireworks they aren’t usually experts in that field. Something went wrong and they fell over, propelling into the crowd!! We all scattered, not the safest situation, but as far as I know no one was hurt. It all got caught on tape too!
After the fireworks went off a firetruck showed up to put out the couch fire. Kids started clearing out a little bit when that happened, but the group really backed up when police showed up with masks and bats. At that point it was getting really late, so my friends and I decided to call it a night. I’ll never forget the celebration I saw the night we rejoiced the death of Osama Bin Laden and neither will plenty of other students.