Jake Kaplan Guest Post

kaplandj • May 3, 2011

Software Business

Today my first guest post. Jake Kaplan.

Since for some reason, people seem to care about my thoughts of last night’s rally at Penn State – two NBC affiliates wanted phone interviews – and I don’t have my own personal blog, I decided to use my father’s to talk about last night’s events. The night of May 1st, 2011 was one of the greatest night’s America has shared in awhile.

It was an interesting, and joyous night to say the least. I got word via Twitter that three sources said Osama bin Laden had been killed by the United States military. I immediately jogged into my living room and told my roommates to pause their current game of NHL 2011 on the Xbox and flip on CNN.

The five of us listened to what Wolf Blitzer and some other CNN analysts had to say. The fact we had final exams the next day was completely forgotten. The buzz on Twitter and Facebook increased by the second.

Then we got word people were gathering at Beaver Canyon – the center of downtown State College – and we decided we would head down there (about a five-minute walk from our apartment) after we listened to President Obama confirm the news, which he delivered eloquently. Osama bin Laden was dead.

As we walked toward the crowd, groups of people ran past us with American Flags draped over their back, chanting “U.S.A.” A male student walked by us with a giant boom box hoisted on his shoulder blasting Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” The fact thousands of students gathered in the middle of the town’s busiest street couldn’t even stop State College police chief Tom King from smiling as more students piled into the Canyon.

We stood at street level outside of Canyon Pizza for about 20 minutes, and in that short time I ran into at least five or 10 friends. Everyone was there.

There was endless chanting, crowd surfing, people blasting music from their apartment balconies and even shooting off fireworks. I have never seen so much energy in one place at a time.

We met up with a group of friends who live in The Diplomat, one of the apartment buildings that has balconies overlooking the Canyon. We arrived at apartment No. 701 and immediately went out onto the balcony. The sight was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. We all took pictures on our camera phones and sent them to friends and family members.

My mother, Debbie, responded to my text message saying NBC Capitol Hill reporter Tim Russert was asking people to send him pictures of celebrations across the country. The 3G network on my phone was so slow because of all the people in the vicinity, so it took probably 20 minutes before the tweet went through. But when it did, Russert retweeted it within a minute. Throughout the next three hours or so, hundreds of people were spreading my picture of the great celebration at Penn State. My phone ran out of battery from all of the Twitter updates.

I’m flattered the picture got so much attention – it was featured on various web sites and Good Morning America and I was quoted in a story on nbcphiladelphia.com. But it was just one of thousands of pictures taken at Penn State last night. The Daily Collegian, the university’s independent student-run newspaper for which I am a football reporter, has some spectacular shots of the whole celebration on its web site (Psucollegian.com).

Sunday night was one of those moments in life where everyone remembers exactly where they were when it happened. I’m just happy the people at Penn State were able to make it an even more memorable night.

U. S. A.

-Jake Kaplan