Alyssa Rosenthal: Celebrating for the wrong reasons

May 1 was a day many students are not likely to forget.

Osama bin Laden was killed and the United States celebrated.

Students ran out of Gelman Library en masse to storm the White House. Living so close to the president’s home, we were some of the first students on the scene; national media picked up and shouted out to GW students throughout its coverage.

With all these pictures and stories of GW students celebrating at the White House surfacing on all sorts of news media, just as many questions have arisen about our motives for rejoicing. Media critics have taken to the issue, asking whether we were old enough to truly grasp the gravity of the event. Many have criticized us for celebrating another man’s death.

It seems to me that students wanted to be a part of something big, even though they didn’t completely understand what that was. If students really understood what was going on, they wouldn’t have been climbing poles and blowing vuvuzelas in front of the president’s home. The message now is more critical than ever: the war on terror is not over.

Remember how the old saying goes: the battle may be over, but the war is far from won.

GW must come to terms with the passage and move forward under this ideal. We celebrated prematurely on May 1, which disrespected the troops who remain on the front lines today.

Most students say they celebrated that night as an act of patriotism. Dancing and shouting outside the White House, however, is not patriotic. Indeed, they sang the national anthem and waved American flags, but they also sang, “na na na goodbye.” At a time that deserved silent reverence, a bunch of rowdy college students took to shouting in the streets.

Patriotism should be shown with respect and honor to those who serve our country and allow us to live in freedom every day.

Rather than partying in the residence halls, show your support for the troops who have gotten us this far and help encourage them to take this fight even further.

Dare to be the one who stops dancing and starts a moment of silence.

It is okay to celebrate how far we’ve come since 9/11 and for the people who fight for us every day. But to celebrate because we want to be there and to be seen is immature, not the show of patriotism we think it is.

Alyssa Rosenthal, a freshman majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet columnist.

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