Sunday night, my wife and I joined a jubilant crowd in front of the White House to celebrate the end of Osama bin Laden. The air was electric, the mood ecstatic. We were unified.
After posting a video of the Osama bin Laden White House After Party (below), I was surprised by the reaction. It attracted more "Dislikes" than "Likes," along with comments wondering whether the celebrations would provoke retaliation. Meanwhile, a wider debate rages on the Internet: is it ever ok to celebrate the death of a human being?
I guess a lot of people wanted Americans to sit on their hands last night. But I'm sure glad I didn't.
I doubt it's possible for al Qaeda to hate us any more than they do already. The announcement of Osama's death would have been enough to provoke retaliation fears with or without celebrations. I did not raise the threat level by singing the National Anthem.
I can understand how celebrating any death -- even Osama's -- might make people uncomfortable. But can we at least celebrate the fact that our country fulfilled a goal long-held by almost every American since September 11th? After the terrible events of that day -- and of that decade -- don't we deserve some national catharsis?
My grandfather told me that last night reminded him of VJ Day -- a unifying celebration of national victory. Now, my generation knows that feeling too.
Unlike VJ Day, yesterday's celebration doesn't mark an end to our war. But it does provide a national rallying point in an often-nebulous conflict where clear victories are rare.
And that's something to celebrate.