A middle school teacher in Ephrata, Wash., was honored on Monday for shaving his gray, stringy beard that resembled one on an infamous man who met his doom late on Sunday.
Gary Weddle’s face last saw a razor 3,454 days ago — on Sept. 11, 2001. He vowed not to shave again until Osama bin Laden was caught.
School principal Jill Palmquist praised Weddle, 50, on Monday following Sunday’s night dramatic announcement by President Obama that 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. military forces in a fire fight in Pakistan.
“I spent my first five minutes crying and then I couldn’t get it off fast enough,” Weddle, 50, told the Capital Press.
He was a substitute teacher on Sept. 11, 2001, and was so engrossed in the news of the events that at first he neglected to shave. About a week later he said he wouldn’t not it again until bin Laden was found — dead or alive.
Each year when the school term started, he told his students that his beard was a reminder of the 9/11 attacks.
Palmquist praised him to the school, telling students he should be admired for sticking to his vow and for enduring ridicule, jokes and people taunting him that it was a lost cause.
On Sunday night, Weddle found scissors and a razor and got to work as friends and neighbors looked on.