Inspired to contribute to a cause greater than themselves, many young Americans joined the military in the days, weeks, months and even first several years after the 9/11 attacks.
A Pentagon survey showed an 8 percent increase in a willingness to enlist among young men immediately following 9/11, with the trend continuing until 2005, according to an American Forces Press Service report.
Two such patriots were Fort Stewart soldiers Spc. John Geiger and Sgt. T.J. Fusek.
Geiger, 29, was living in Boston, Mass., and commuting to school at Bunker Hill Community College in Bunker Hill, Mass., when the attacks occurred. He is currently assigned to the 4-3 Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.
“I was living in a tiny studio apartment,” he said. “I flipped the TV on and saw one of the towers smoking.”
Geiger said his first thought was about the 1993 World Trade Center bombing when a truck bomb was detonated in the basement of the WTC’s North Tower. Six people died in that terror attack.
“I watched the second plane hit. Then I called my father, who works on Wall Street at the New York Stock Exchange,” he said.
Fusek, 31, didn’t join the military until 2005, but said he was “inspired to join” by the attacks. He is currently assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th IBCT, 3rd ID.
Fusek was at work at a window factory in Milwaukee, Wis., on Sept. 11, 2001.
“We always listened to the radio in the shop and a news alert broke into whatever program we were listening to at the time. Everyone stopped what they were doing and listened to the news cast,” he remembered.
“I had wanted to join the military when I was younger, but I got comfortable with my spot in life,” Fusek continued. “But of course after 9/11, along with everybody else, I watched the war unfold.”
Read more in the Sept. 10 edition of the News.