Shady El-Maraghi and two friends took to the streets in Lexington Friday, waving the flag of their native Egypt and announcing its freedom from President Hosni Mubarak with the cry, "Egypt is free!"
"I'm jubilant," said El- Maraghi, a 20-year-old University of Kentucky student who left Egypt with his family 10 years ago.
Other Egyptian natives living in Lexington shared El-Maraghi's joy that Mubarak's 30-year reign had ended.
"I have tears in my eyes and happiness in my heart," said Lexington physician Mostafa Amr. "It will be a great moment for Egypt and everything will improve. Everything. ... I feel the hope is coming back."
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Amr left Egypt in 1983.
Hadil Abdalla, 18, said that her father is still living in Egypt while she studies chemical engineering at UK.
The protests created a stressful time for the family. Her father had to guard his home from potential looters.
She said her father heard Mubarak speak in Tahrir Square Thursday and was disappointed that Mubarak did not step down then. But on Friday, with the announcement of the resignation, Abdalla said, there was excitement in Egypt and among her friends in Lexington.
"Everyone is so optimistic. Most of them feel like it would be a new era for the entire Middle East."