Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind 9/11, the worst terrorist attack on American soil, is dead, President Barack Obama told the nation just before 11:30 p.m. Sunday.
The president said bin Laden was killed Sunday in a strike in Pakistan, almost 10 years after the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 civilians on Sept. 11, 2001. No Americans were harmed in the strike. Bin Laden's body was taken into U.S. custody, Obama said.
"His demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity," Obama said.
The president also added that,"Justice has been done."
Obama indicated that officials have been operating on tips of bin Laden's whereabouts since August.
He called bin Laden a "symbol" and "leader" of al-Qaida, the terrorist group responsible for the attacks on the United States. Obama said when he became president, he instructed officials that the "killing or capture of Osama bin Laden" was a top priority.
Obama said bin Laden's death does not mark the end of the efforts against terrorism.
"We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad," Obama said.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) made the following statement regarding the death of bin Laden:
“Osama bin Laden murdered thousands of Americans, yet evaded justice for years. Our country is united in gratitude to the brave men and women of our intelligence and counterterrorism community and our troops for their sacrifices in keeping us safe from terror.”
Those who served in the military said they were overwhelmed by the news.
"It's like the big boogeyman is gone," said U.S. Army Spc. Jessica Knight, a Westland resident, formerly of Chesterfield Township. "It's just really surreal. I just hope it's an end to going back over there."
Knight, who has served three tours in Iraq, said she lost many friends in the war that ensued after 9/11.
"I wish that those friends who are dead could see this." she said.
Knight said she now is concerned about retaliation and for troops fighting overseas.
"All I could think of immediately was how I felt when Saddam (Hussein) was killed. We were scared. Here we were in a chow hall, eating breakfast, and we had just watched Saddam hung on public television. We were in Iraq, it was on TV, and we were supposed to go out on a mission. We didn't go out for two weeks because we were so scared of being attacked," she said. "I'm nervous as heck for them because they're overseas where these radicals formed off of Osama, and this guy's dead now."
Others expressed pure joy.
In Dearborn, people took took the street waving American flags on Michigan Avenue and soliciting honking horns from passing motorists. A celebratory rally is planned there Monday afternoon.
"I think this is a huge victory for the United States, and I hope it's a huge step forward toward putting the war on terrorism behind us," said Army Spc. Jesse Williams of Royal Oak, who served in Afghanistan from January 2007 through April 2008.
When asked how he was feeling about the news Sunday night, Williams replied: "Oh, boy. Happy. Just happy."
Nicole Krawcke, Leslie Ellis and Jessica Carreras contributed to this report.