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President Obama, Vice President Biden lay wreaths at Ground Zero and the Pentagon

Mario Tama / Getty Images

President Barack Obama (2nd R) carries a wreath with police and firefighters during a wreath laying ceremony at Ground Zero after Osama bin Laden was killed on May 5, 2011 in New York City. Obama also visited a New York Fire Department firehouse and met with families of victims of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 during his visit to New York.

President Barack Obama arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule to lay a wreath at Ground Zero, days after Osama Bin Laden was killed by a special U.S. military operation. Click here to see video from Ground Zero event. 

Charles Dharapak / AP

President Barack Obama hugs Diane Wall, wife of Glen James Wall who died at the World Trade Center attack, after laying a wreath at the National Sept. 11 Memorial at Ground Zero in New York, Thursday, May 5, 2011.

Charles Dharapak, a photographer for the Associated Press writes about the scene: Moments earlier, President Barack Obama had laid a wreath at the Sept. 11 Memorial as family members and first responders silently stood by. The president is embracing Diane Wall, whose husband Glen Wall, was lost in the World Trade Center attacks. Her 14-year-old daughter, Payton, had written to Obama and told him how she had been coping with her father's death. Under a sunny midday sky, the mood was very solemn -- a great contrast to the festive scene I witnessed in front of the White House Sunday night when thousands converged to celebrate the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. forces. After spending a few moments with the Wall family, Obama made his way to dozens of other family members of Sept. 11 victims who had quietly gathered nearby.

David Friedman / msnbc.com

Malynda Irby, in yellow, reacts with the crowd on St. Peter's Church steps as the president's motorcade passes by at Ground Zero in New York City on Thursday, May 5, 2011.

While the wreath laying was not a public event, hundreds packed the sidewalks in the blocks around Ground Zero. Msnbc.com's David Friedman, reporting from the crowd, talked to Malynda Irby, shown above in yellow. "I just really admire him as a leader," said Irby, who is visiting New York on a work trip from Buffalo. "I've never been so proud of any president in my life as I am of him." Following Obama's decision to approve a high-risk operation to kill bin Laden, Irby commented of Obama's presidency, "This is just a high mark so far."

Mary Altaffer/AP

Above, New York city police officers arrest a man near ground zero as President Obama leaves a ground zero, Thursday, May 5, 2011 in New York.

Read dispatches from msnbc.com's live blog from the event.

Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images

US Vice President Joe Biden places a wreath at the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on May 5, 2011, to honor the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks.