Teacher Shaves Beard After Bin Laden Killed

Gary Weddle, a schoolteacher from East Wenatchee, Washington, has cut his beard after waiting almost ten years for Osama bin Laden to be killed.

Gary Weddle is a man of his word. And, after nearly a decade, clean shaven.

The Daily Astorian (“Teacher who vowed not to shave until bin Laden was caught or killed finally shaves“)

EAST WENATCHEE, Wash. – A teacher who vowed nearly 10 years ago not to cut his beard until Osama bin Laden was captured or proven dead said he cried Sunday night upon hearing of the terrorist’s death.

“I spent my first five minutes crying and then I couldn’t get it off fast enough,” said Gary Weddle, 50, who lives in East Wenatchee but teaches middle school science in Ephrata.

Weddle has wanted to cut his beard for years. His wife, Donita, has wanted him to cut it, too. But for Weddle a vow is a vow and so he hadn’t even trimmed it until Sunday night.

Weddle was a substitute teacher in Wenatchee when the infamous al-Qaeda terrorist attack occurred on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, killing 3,000 Americans. Weddle was so caught up in the news that he neglected to shave. A week or so later, he vowed not to shave until bin Laden was captured or proven dead. He figured it would just be a month or two.

At the start of each school year, Weddle told his students the beard was a reminder of the attack. He frequently said he didn’t understand how anyone could use the name of his God to justify murder.

[…]

Weddle wasted no time finding scissors and razors. He cut the beard and was shaving the stubble even before President Obama addressed the nation about bin Laden’s demise. Friends and neighbors celebrated with him, watching him cut his beard. He got a little bloodied, having become somewhat inexperienced in shaving. He expressed amazement at feel of his face.

Weddle was 41 when he made his vow. The Weddle’s daughter was 13 and their twin daughters were 12. Now they’re 23 and 22.

“I wanted him to get rid of it, but it was his vow,” Donita said. “I respected his passion and keeping a vow. I was willing to look past the beard because I love him.” “He looks 10 years younger,” she said. “It’s a very happy moment for us. It’s a very happy moment for the whole nation.”

Here’s the Before:

Gary Weddle minutes before he shaved his beard the evening of May 1. He kept a vow made nearly 10 years ago not to shave until Osama bin Laden was caught or proven killed

And the After:

Middle school teacher Gary Weddle, 50, East Wenatchee, displays his cut beard while shaving the remaining stubble the evening of May 1. He completed a vow made nearly 10 years ago not to shave until Osama bin Laden was captured or proven killed.

Middle school teacher Gary Weddle, 50, East Wenatchee, displays his cut beard while shaving the remaining stubble the evening of May 1. He completed a vow made nearly 10 years ago not to shave until Osama bin Laden was captured or proven killed.

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FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. […] Teacher Shaves Beard After Bin Laden Killed (outsidethebeltway.com) […]

  2. Gustopher says:

    Ironically, he had a bit of an Osama Bin Laden look with the beard. The same pattern of gray.