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American Gary Weddle finally shaves beard after bin Laden dead

Weddle had vowed not to shave until the Al Qaeda leader was killed or captured.

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A man reads a daily paper with the headline reading 'Watchout the retaliation' in Denpasar on the island of Bali on May 3, 2011 after President Obama announced the killing of Osama bin Laden. (Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP/Getty Images)

An American has finally agreed to shave his beard after Osama bin Laden was killed by a U.S. operation Sunday.

After the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Gary Weddle, a middle school teacher living in East Wenatchee, Washington, vowed to not cut his beard until bin Laden was killed or captured. He told his science class he would not shave in support of the U.S. military and American freedoms.

"I didn't want to forget. I wasn't going to forget," he told Reuters.

Weddle's beard grew and grew, reaching some 15 inches long. It got in the way when he shoveled snow or played basketball. It caused students at his school to ridicule him and question his purpose.

But then, the news Sunday that a U.S. team found and killed bin Laden in a compound in Pakistan changed everything. Weddle could shave.

"I'm still very emotional about this, about all of the death and destruction," he told Reuters. "I'm finally getting closure on this."

This marked the first time in 3,454 days that Weddle shaved, ABC15 reports.

The Ephrata Middle School where Weddle works issued a statement Monday thanking the teacher for his determination.

“The life lasting impact the commitment to your vow has had on over 2,000 students in the last 10 years is more than a teacher could even begin [to] imagine.”

See images of Weddle's beard.