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Artifact Date
May 2011
Topic(s)
  • Journalism
  • War
  • World History
Thumbnail
The Chicago Sun Times featured a bold image of Osama bin Laden and the single word "Dead" on its cover on May 2, 2011.
Newseum Collection

Nearly 10 years after the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, President Barack Obama informed the nation in a televised speech that "justice had been done."

Osama bin Laden had been sought ever since al-Qaida terrorists hijacked airplanes in coordinated attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, that left nearly 3,000 people dead. Shortly after the attacks, the U.S. and allies launched a war in Afghanistan to destroy al-Qaida strongholds and to overthrow Taliban rulers who harbored bin Laden — the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks — and the Islamic extremist group he founded.

The international manhunt for bin Laden came to an end around 1 a.m. local time on May 2, 2011 — it was mid-afternoon May 1 in the United States — when U.S. Navy SEALs raided the terrorist leader's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, as Obama and his closest advisers tuned in from the White House situation room. Bin Laden was killed in the 40-minute operation. His body was buried at sea off the deck of the USS Carl Vinson at an undisclosed location in the Arabian Sea.

News of bin Laden's death led to impromptu celebrations.

View archived front pages from other events

Front Pages May 2, 2011

(While a page is open, press the pink “view larger” button under the image to zoom in on a higher quality PDF file.)

May 3, 2011

Second-day coverage reflects the mixed emotions and reactions of people globally. There’s relief and joy, but also concerns about whether the world is truly safer now. Newspapers provide a lot more details of the hunt and raid and focus on local reactions, especially from relatives of people killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

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