NEW YORK — As the world reacted to the news that Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. military operatives in Abbottabad, Pakistan, many gathered near Ground Zero to celebrate and reflect. Nearly 10 years after the attack on the World Trade Center, young New Yorkers and tourists looked back on how the last decade and the actions of Bin Laden have drastically changed their world views.
"I'm very proud to be standing here right now," Kristen, who was a sophomore in high school when the 9/11 attacks took place, told MTV News. "I'd love to give a shout out to my cousin who is a troop and he is a ranger in the Army. His name is David, he's on his fourth tour in Afghanistan, and he's awesome. And I'm very proud of him, and I'm very proud of all our troops."
Elise, who works in the area near Ground Zero, said that the news left her conflicted. "Well, initially, personally, I approached it with skepticism," she said. "But you know, after hearing the details, I'm just proud. After Obama's speech, I was just proud to be an American. And I'm supporting our troops 100 percent. There's so much support out here. Of course we're cautious about retaliation, but those affected by September 11 can finally get some closure and some justice, so I'm definitely proud to be an American today.
Elise said the tragedy of 9/11 "dramatically" affected her generation. "The memorial, just seeing Ground Zero restored — how can we ever forget? I know I was a freshman in high school, and I was definitely affected, although no one I was close to was victimized but I was still affected, I was still traumatized."
Victoria, who also works downtown, anticipated a sense of relief in the neighborhood. "I think the mood would be relief and joy and happiness that we finally have accomplished something very big," she said. "And Osama dying ... that's awesome. ... I remember 10 years ago, when this all went down, and I was home on Cape Cod listening to all of this on the news. And growing up with all of it and now being in New York, it's definitely going to affect my generation and how we view the United States. I think positivity will definitely rise in our nation, a lot of hope."
Financial District resident Devin mirrored Elise's sentiments. "I'm here to feel the sense of relief the next day," he said. "Last night was very much bringing everyone together. It was a night of celebration, and I definitely felt the love. ... Ten years ago, this was a totally different scene. So it went from tragedy 10 years ago to a scene of love, so in that time, there was a lot of suffering and last night and today was our day to let it all out.
"This generation and the generation that was younger [during the 9/11 attacks], it definitely shows them you can say a lot about the country, but we come together in times of suffering and times of celebration," he added. "It shows a lot of hope for the younger generation."
How do you feel like the death of Bin Laden affects you? Did 9/11 have a direct impact on your life? Talk about it in the comments!