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Across New York City, joy that 'Obama got Osama'

David Friedman / msnbc.com

Cid Wilson joins the crowd at New York City's Ground Zero celebrating the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed on Monday, May 2.

By Miranda Leitsinger, msnbc.com

Nearly 10 years of pent-up emotion broke like a wave across New York City after news came late Sunday that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden had been killed in an American attack in Pakistan.

At Ground Zero, where the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell on Sept. 11, 2001, people were screaming, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, singing "America the Beautiful" and "The Star Spangled Banner," and waving big flags.

Others chanted "Obama got Osama" in a scene overflowing with patriotism and happiness after President Barack Obama announced the death of the man who planned the terror attacks that scarred this city.

Angelo Lopez, a 47-year-old filmmaker from Middle Village, Queens, was there early Monday with his 20-year old son, holding an American flag.

“Justice has been served.  It's about time this guy gets wiped off the planet," Lopez said.

David Friedman / msnbc.com

Angelo Lopez, from Queens, N.Y., was in the crowd at Ground Zero celebrating the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed on Monday, May 2.

He said he and his son decided they couldn't go to bed and had to drive over. "Just had to come and feel the people. This is hallowed ground over here,” he added, gesturing toward where the memorial will be built.

Cid Wilson, a 41-year-old financial analyst from Leonia, NJ, said he had to join the crowds at Ground Zero “to join my fellow Americans in celebrating a mission accomplished in defeating the leader of al-Qaida.”

“To see a day like today … this was a victorious day,” he said.

Jake Ray, 35, a morning radio show producer who lives close to Ground Zero, said he heard screaming before he knew about bin Laden, so he came over.

He said the ceremonies there are usually somber events. “Never been this joyous,” he said.

Still he worried about the effects of the al-Qaida leader's death. “Is it going to have some negative fallout?” he wondered.

A large group of people gather at ground zero in New York City to celebrate the news that Osama bin Laden has been killed.

In Times Square, several hundred people gathered, singing, chanting “USA, USA” and “Let’s Roll,” and waving American flags. The horns from police cars and fire trucks nearby added to the cacophony.

Among the celebrants was Sophia Peng, 34, an IT consultant, who said she has not been able to venture downtown to the area around the World Trade Center since her college roommate, Christina Ryook, 25, was killed in the 9/11 attack. 

“It brings back too many memories from that day,“ she said, adding that she may now be able to return to the WTC site “to go back and honor her.”

A friend, Miles Oh of New York, said he was joining her in the celebration.

“It’s not really good to celebrate someone’s death,” he said, “....  but it feels good for the country … for our lost friends.”

Also joining in the celebration  was Umberto Navarrete, 24, from San Diego, a military veteran who served 18 months in Iraq.

Navarrete said he was with friends at a restaurant when he heard the news. He left them there to come mark the occasion publicly, but alone.

“My friends don’t know what this means to me,” he said.  “I’ve been waiting for this day for 10 years.”

Following the news that Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, celebrants say the pledge at Ground Zero, New York City.

While the mood was overwhelmingly joyous, some in the square were struggling with other emotions.

Among them was Daniel Epstein, 40, an architect from Los Angeles.

“It’s emotional,” he said, adding that he felt like he was about to cry.  “ I feel like it’s not over, but it’s an important step that’s been long overdue. … It’s a bookend … another moment to remember the people who passed away.”

Back at Ground Zero, Wilson said that he lost business colleagues in the 9/11 attacks and he remembers that day, “like it was yesterday.”

Coming to Ground Zero “is also a way to connect with those who perished … to let them know that while their deaths were tragic, that we’re here to let you know that justice was served,” he said while holding an American flag. “And now they can truly rest in peace knowing that the perpetrator behind this heinous terrorist attack has been brought to justice."

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Fans at the game between the Mets and the Phillies chant USA as word spreads about the death of Osama bin Laden.