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Teacher who vowed not to shave until bin Laden was caught or killed finally shaves

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Posted: Monday, May 2, 2011 8:40 am | Updated: 11:31 am, Tue May 15, 2012.

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.

The story of Weddle's beard, broke by this reporter in 2002, received national and international coverage when reprised on the fifth anniversary of 911 in 2006.

Weddle figured he'd still be wearing the beard this coming Sept. 11 on the 10th anniversary.

He was working in his garden at home Sunday evening when a teaching colleague from Ephrata, Missy Beierman, called at 7:48 p.m. and told him bin Laden was dead.

The Weddles were skeptical. Over the years, people had called saying the same thing, as jokes. They turned on their television and flipped through the channels. All were buzzing about bin Laden's death.

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."

Dan Wheat writes for the Salem-based Capital Press, sister paper to The Daily Astorian.

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  • Scarlett posted at 9:40 pm on Tue, May 3, 2011.

    Scarlett Posts: 1

    HA! He's using his wife's razor!!! See? PINK!

  • julief posted at 1:59 pm on Tue, May 3, 2011.

    julief Posts: 1

    MishBay, their daughter is 23 and the twin daughterS are 22!! By the way, Is that ALL you got out of this story?!?

  • Nertz2u posted at 12:59 pm on Tue, May 3, 2011.

    Nertz2u Posts: 1

    MishBay, he has 3 daughthers, the 13 year old is now 23 and the "twin" 12 year olds are now 22!![beam]

  • MishBay posted at 12:42 pm on Tue, May 3, 2011.

    MishBay Posts: 1


    How can his twin daughters be 23 and 22?

  • astoriaresident posted at 11:33 am on Tue, May 3, 2011.

    astoriaresident Posts: 9

    Ok jesuswalks Where did you get your Info that Osama has been dead for 7 + years ? I think you got it from the enquirer or star magazine . Its all over the news watch it first off Obama has known the whearabouts of bin laden since August and has been tracking his every move with special forces on the ground where he was and just a few days ago Osama was offered to turn himself over to armed forces and he refused . So Obama ordered his Assasination they flew navy seals in dropped them off inside the compound there was a brief firefight with noone else was killed or injured but bin laden. That statement was given in a national address to the public . The things you said was just pure false . I give cudos to the teacher who made that vow and what i think he did was awesome .

  • LifeDontWasteIt posted at 9:55 am on Tue, May 3, 2011.

    LifeDontWasteIt Posts: 1

    Donita you were right to be content with him keeping his vow (although hint, don't make vows hastily! ).... because keeping his vow to Donita will be the most imporant one. :)

  • jesuswalks posted at 9:32 am on Tue, May 3, 2011.

    jesuswalks Posts: 1

    Wow, really? Osama has been dead for 7+ years and guess what? Terrorism didn't die with him. But thanks for shaving so you no longer look like Osama.

  • Grump Old Tom posted at 9:05 am on Tue, May 3, 2011.

    Grump Old Tom Posts: 2

    Where did I say anything about my faith (or lack thereof)? You are the one showing yourself stupid here by your complete inability to read with comprehension. As I said, you are a shame to thinking people everywhere.

  • Saganhill posted at 5:59 am on Tue, May 3, 2011.

    Saganhill Posts: 2

    @old tom...Carl Sagan would tell you and the guy with the beard how superstitious you all are and that "extroidinary claims require extroidinary evidence". Stupid people like you and people of faith have this inability to see through reason. They use faith and Credulity to make their beleifs real. You are just as bad as the muslims who fell the towers. The sooner we rid ourselves of this faith based idiocy the better. Its a sad state of mind to think I wrote that post in bitterness. But you are just as stupid as the rest of other religious idiots. If Gary had put 10% of his beard growing idiocy into something a little more tangible, I would have had a little more respect for the guy. But none for you.

  • Grump Old Tom posted at 5:36 am on Tue, May 3, 2011.

    Grump Old Tom Posts: 2

    Saganhill, you are a shame to thinking people everywhere. The article mentions nothing about his faith, only his faithfulness to his own vow. Carl Sagan would tell you to go take Reading Comprehension 101, dump your bitterness, and then maybe all the "stupid people" you refer to might actually listen to you. What an self-aggrandizing, elitist twit you come off as!

    Gary, good on you!

  • Saganhill posted at 5:12 am on Tue, May 3, 2011.

    Saganhill Posts: 2

    The post on this forum only validate how screwed up the world is with religion and their imaginary friend who lives in the sky. Then you have the equally screwed up conspiracy theorist who think they have all the correct answers. Truely you all are stupid people and should not be taken seriously. This guy with the beard is truly another idiot who's imaginary freind speaks to him. He should be taken away in a straight jacket as another religious NUT.

  • camiller posted at 3:48 am on Tue, May 3, 2011.

    camiller Posts: 1

    Nice glasses. [wink]

  • mstueve posted at 12:15 am on Tue, May 3, 2011.

    mstueve Posts: 1

    Praise the Lord???? Rejoicing that someone (anyone!) is dead is about as UN-Christian as it gets. Go back to the bible, sister. (At least the new bible where God is compassionate, not the old testament where God is petty, jealous, and mean.)


  • StanSki posted at 8:24 pm on Mon, May 2, 2011.

    StanSki Posts: 1

    That's good that he shaved. He looks even more like OBL than the phoney death picture that has been going around and he could have been shot by Empirial stormtroopers.

  • gracespoor posted at 5:37 pm on Mon, May 2, 2011.

    gracespoor Posts: 1

    Praise the Lord, we now have something to be thankful for on the National Day of prayer on thursday because osama is dead and also on the other holdays coming up throughout this year. osama will get his just reward. kudos to the teacher for being so faithful

  • littlelulu posted at 4:48 pm on Mon, May 2, 2011.

    littlelulu Posts: 1

    Gary, Congratulations on being a man of honor for keeping your word, other males who consider themselves man can learn a lesson of keeping their word. I am sure that the reason you picked this one particular thing is because it was something that you felt at the time would not last very long and it was difficult. I think with so much negativity in our country it is a pleasure to read a human interest story of a man who kept his word of honor.People who would criticize you for making a promise and keeping your word are the ones who do not know the meaning of keeping their word.

  • Matt Algren posted at 3:34 pm on Mon, May 2, 2011.

    Matt Algren Posts: 1

    We could have done that, Jack, but then we'd be evil. And I'd rather not be evil.

  • yeske24 posted at 2:25 pm on Mon, May 2, 2011.

    yeske24 Posts: 1

    I want to see a picture of him in the shaven!

  • JackDoitCrawford posted at 2:00 pm on Mon, May 2, 2011.

    JackDoitCrawford Posts: 1

    If we had started bombing the major cities where Muslims carry the signs saying "Death to America" and told them it would continue until Bin Laden was dead, this celebration would have happened about 9 years ago.


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