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Richfield Vet Decided to Enlist in Army Despite 9/11 Attacks

Richfield resident Jake Rappe remembers Sept. 11, 2001 and his decision to join the U.S. Army.

Editor's Note: The following was submitted by Richfield resident and U.S. Army veteran Jake Rappe, who served in Iraq and was also slightly injured while there.

Long has it been said that everybody remembers where they were on Nov. 22, 1963. I'm sure the same could be said about Dec. 7, 1941, and now the same can is said about .

I was 18 years old on 9/11.

The previous school year, my senior year, I made the decision to join the Army after graduation and, in September, I was working on losing weight so that I could do so.

Tuesday the 11th started off no different than Monday the 10th.  That morning, I was driving my sister to a class as her car was being fixed. When we started driving, the radio was not broadcasting the usual talk show and music that plays everyday. I remember not being able to make any sense out of what we were hearing. I dropped off my sister at her class and drove home saying to myself: "I gotta turn on the TV and find out what in the world is going on." 

I arrived home and turn on the television just in time to watch United Airlines Flight 175 crash into the World Trade Center South Tower. As I was watching the burning towers, I remember everything being very surreal, like I was witnessing these events in slow motion.

The rest of the day for me is a haze:

I'm sure that when my sister's class was over I drove to pick her up. But I don't remember. 

I'm sure that I made myself lunch that day. But I don't remember. 

I'm sure that I had dinner with my family that evening. But I don't remember. 

What I do remember is their plan didn't work.

Eventhough an airplane crashed into the Pentagon, two airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center, and another airplane crashed in Pennsylvania. And eventhough the World Trade Center collapsed in apocalyptic fashion—which was probably more than our enemies were hoping for—in the time that came after 9/11, the States of America were never more united, showing the world that the USA is more than the sum of her parts. 

We are not just a few buildings, we are not just people, we are an idea. An idea concieved of freedom and devoted to righteousness.    

In the days to follow, a lot of people asked me if I still planned on joining the Army. Although I had made the decision in a time of peace, I kept telling those who asked me that I knew what I was getting involved in and I was not naive enough to think there was no risk of having to defend my country against her enemies.

Now that it has been 10 years since we were deliberately and maliciously attacked, I think about how eventhough our lives have been changed, we have endeavored unwaveringly to achieve the righteousness, freedoms, and ideals set forth on this continent more than 200 years ago.

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