In a somber televised speech to the nation last night, President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden, the militant cleric who for nearly a decade has been the most wanted man in the world.
"Justice has been done," the president said, in announcing the death of bin Laden during a U.S. military operation in Pakistan. The news set off demonstrations by cheering, flag-waving crowds in New York, outside the White House in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere around the country.
The president said bin Laden was killed and his body recovered during a military firefight at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. He said he authorized the operation last week after determining there was enough concrete evidence to move on the compound.
He thanked the countless "tireless" and "nameless" military personnel who spent the years since the 9/11 attacks tracking the long-elusive al-Qaida leader and demonstrated "unparalleled courage" in surrounding and killing him.
"As a country, we will never tolerate when our security has been threatened . . . we will be true to the values that make us who we are," Obama said. "Today's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country."
The death of bin Laden, who is believed to have orchestrated the Sept. 11, 2001, jetliner attacks, does not ensure the future security of the United States, the president noted.
It does, however, fulfill the promise made by U.S. officials to the families of those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the crash of United Flight 93 near Shanksville, PA, he said.
"The images are seared into our memories . . . Let me say to the families: We have never forgotten your loss nor wavered in our commtment to do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores," he said.
". . . The cause of securing our country is not complete. But Americans can do whatever they set their minds to. Let us remember we can do these things, not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are -- one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
For more developments in the death of bin Laden, see AOL News and The Huffington Post.