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Patriotism peaks as city prepares for Obama visit Thursday

President set to visit Ground Zero tomorrow, but city divided on how to celebrate death of bin Laden.

Although the details of President Barack Obama’s visit to Ground Zero tomorrow are still murky, one thing is clear — throngs of proud Americans will be there to catch a glimpse of the president.

New York, like the rest of the nation, has been swept up in a wave of patriotism since Osama bin Laden’s death. Crowds still gather nightly at Ground Zero, waving American flags and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Columbia student and former Marine Ben Feibleman hailed a cab to the site Sunday, and bought beers for the crowd.

“Some girl says to me, ‘Oh, we have to remember this is a sad day, too,’ and I just glared at her, after I had given her this beer, and said, ‘No, that’s absurd,’” he told Metro yesterday. “We’ve had 10 years to mourn. This does not open old wounds, this closes them.”

But not all New Yorkers are chanting “USA, USA!”

Kat Heisler, 24, said her Brooklyn apartment met the news of bin Laden’s demise with “silence.”

“I didn’t realize how excited people were going to be,” she told Metro. “It’s not a sporting event. Let’s not go in the street and dance.”

Juahard Brooks, 24, a Manhattan security guard, said he texted people when he found out, but wasn’t, “running around waving the flag.”

“I don’t feel sorry for him, but I’m not going to parade around,” he said.

“I think it’s really interesting that so many people find pleasure in the death of one person,” added Jackie Cole, 24, from Brooklyn.

New York readies for Obama

The president will visit Ground Zero on Thursday and meet with the families of people who died on 9/11. An NYPD spokesman said cops are preparing for any size crowd to assemble near the site, small or huge. “It could be one or it could be 1 million,” he said. “The numbers could be off the charts. One never knows.”


Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter at @AlisonatMetro.

 
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