crowd-surfing a flag

May 2, 2011 at 12:33 am 3 comments

This is how a college student gets her news:

It is the Sunday of finals week.  Kelly and I are in the “no-talking” study lounge in our dorm (affectionately called the zombie lounge, because apparently the students there resemble the Walking Dead more than real people).  The windows are cracked open.  We hear screaming.  Not that unusual – our dorm faces College Ave, and on any given weekend (and sometimes weekday) night you can hear enthusiastic screaming from partiers.

But this doesn’t stop.  Screaming continues.  And it’s the day before finals start.  There shouldn’t be that many people in the streets.  It gets louder.  We hear chants of “USA! USA! USA!” – which isn’t a chant you usually hear.  Vuvuzelas add to the cacophony.  Horns are honking.  Everyone in the study lounge is thoroughly confused.

I check facebook.  According to six of my friends’ status updates, Osama Bin Laden is dead.  Say what?  The New York Times and CNN both confirm this, minus the details because “The President is expected to address the nation soon”.  (Is it weird that as soon as I read that, I think of how frantically his speechwriter must be working right now?)

So now we know.  The riots/enthusiastic mobs downtown are in celebration.  I text my friend in the freshman dorms in East halls, and she says it looks like an absolute madhouse. 

I try to study.  But people are screaming and cheering…and I want to be a part of this.  This is historic.  This will never happen again.  I need to celebrate.  I want to be able to tell my kids about this. 

But small girls shouldn’t be wandering around in mobs, right? 

I ask Kelly if it would be a dumb idea, fully expecting her to say Yes and Finish Writing Your Paper That’s Due Tomorrow.  But instead she cracks an impish grin and says, “I think you should do it.  I’ll come with you!  Just for a minute.” 

So we run outside, giddy to be making memories and being a part of this mob scene.

And it is a madhouse – but, unlike the riots that I’ve heard of following epic football wins or something, most of the crowd seems to be refreshingly sober.  (It’s the Sunday night before finals week, after all).  Of course you can smell beer and smoke.  But I don’t hear people yelling idiotic remarks; just throngs of people hanging over apartment balconies and flooding the streets, jumping up and down and cheering.

We sing the Star Spangled Banner, several times, at the top of our lungs.  We run nowhere in particular.  We crowd-surf a giant American flag and keep a beach ball in the air.  One of the apartments tries to stream the President’s speech outside to us on giant speakers, and we can hear a piece of it, but then another throng joins the packed streets, too noisy to hear the President or our shushing.  And we grow tired of straining to hear, figure we’ll find out what he said later, and start jumping and cheering and singing again. 

Kelly loses the back of her phone battery and miraculously finds it.  Everyone is taking pictures and videos, and I feel very sorry for the people caught driving.  They might be able to move an inch or so in about an hour. 

This is thrilling.  And I’m glad I was a small part of it.  Memories definitely made.

And my wise big sister sends my a text when I tell her what I’m doing: “But, just for some perspective: ‘love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’ Celebrate, but pray that these people might encounter grace & the gospel.”

So true, and wise.  And as another girl expressed her absolute horror that we were celebrating someone’s murder – well, I don’t know what exactly we were celebrating.  (I was there for the crowds and excitement.  The same reason I started going to football games).  We’ve been cheering on America more than anything; patriotism is running high and I think we’re just all relieved and thrilled at the closure.  He can’t spread evil any more, and justice has finally been done.  But yes: prayers for grace and peace and rejoicing in safety and justice are what is called for right now.  Lord, have mercy.  On America, on Pakistan, on the world as we wait to see the repercussions of this and pray it doesn’t fuel more terrorism.

There is still screaming and chants and mobs outside my window, but I’m back now to attempt to be a Good Student.  But then I called my Dad, and he told me that I’ve been summoned for jury duty (!!!!!).  Kind of excited, mostly quite intimidated by that.  It may not even happen – but I really don’t feel wise enough for that if it does.  

This is one monumental day, all right.


Entry filed under: adventures & misadventures, college, Politics.

Five-Minute Friday the end of sophomore shenanigans

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. abeautifulordinary  |  May 2, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Wow, that sounds incredible. I was already in bed and just about asleep when someone texted me and I found out. I have such mixed emotions; part of me wants to rejoice, and the other part feels like it’s wrong to gloat over the death of even an evildoer. My heart shudders at the judgment he faces now. To borrow the words of Jefferson, God is just, and His justice cannot sleep forever. I praise Him for His protection of our country and continue to pray for our leaders… they need even more wisdom now.
    Blessings to you!

  • 2. singamelody  |  May 2, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Wow, your campus evidently was very excited. One person briefly mentioned it this morning before my final, lol. There were fireworks last night though, so I could pretend they were celebrating a minor victory for the US… (when in actuality, they were because it was the last night of a big concert..)

    Something I’m learning is how much this generation has been inundated with the idea that all cultures are just as equal, and if you like your’s better, you’re being closed minded and bigoted etc. But people should be proud of their own country! So I’m glad you celebrated 🙂

    And glad your jury duty got canceled, too 😛

  • 3. Annie  |  May 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    i found out on twitter. i guess social networking is a good thing after all! haha

    i didn’t really know how to feel when i found out. there was nothing in me that wanted to celebrate in me. i wanted to feel relief, but that didn’t come either. i guess all i felt was sorrow – sorrow that despite the fact that osama bin laden is personally responsible for many deaths and responsible for training many more people to bring about even more deaths, there was still the opportunity for redemption while he was alive. now he’s not. i’m starting to worry a little too because some of my twitter friends mentioned the strong likelihood of retaliation.

    but God is in control, as He always has been, and i rest in that, because there’s really nothing else i can do.


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