Gary Weddle is a science teacher at Ephrata Middle School in Ephrata, Washington.  On September 11th, 2001, he vowed to his students that he would never shave his face again until OSAMA BIN LADEN was caught.

And he kept his vow.  By last week, his beard was so insanely long he could've been MISTAKEN for bin Laden.

On Sunday, after PRESIDENT OBAMA'S announcement, Gary finally realized he was going to get to shave.  After 3,454 days.

Gary says people would constantly tell him that bin Laden was probably dead and we didn't realize it . . . or he was alive and we'd never find him . . . or that he'd die and his body would never be recovered.

But he was willing to never shave again for the rest of his life out of his spirit of faith and patriotism.

 On Monday, he shaved his beard off . . . and from the photos, he looks about 20 years younger.