After 3,454 days, a middle school teacher in Ephrata, Washington, is finally free to shave a beard he has been growing since Sept. 11, 2001, in the name of freedom.

Gary Weddle, 50, was so affected by the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that he stopped shaving.

“When the twin towers came down, I was horrified and I was glued to that television,” Weddle toldKOMO News during an interview in June 2003. “And [I] realized that not only was I not taking showers, I wasn’t shaving.”

Weddle says he was 
so engrossed in the national tragedy that he hardly noticed his unkempt face. However, after a few days of growth, Weddle made a vow not to shave until terrorist leader Osama bin Laden was captured or proven dead.

He originally figured that would happen in a month or two, but as the months and years passed by, Weddle started looking more like a member of ZZ Top or one of the guys on the Smith Brothers Cough Drops box. Some of the mangy strands measured 14 inches.

Neither Weddle nor his wife, Donita, liked his hirsute look one bit, but he figured a promise is a promise and he stuck to his guns.

“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.

(news source: aol news)