Kent State ROTC members discusses 9/11’s impact

Megan Tomkins

For those in the United States the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001 was a time of uncertainty, fear, anger and a new sense of patriotism. As the United States moves into the 10th anniversary of that infamous day, students and faculty members of the ROTC program remember their thoughts and feelings during that time and why they joined the military.

Lt. Col. David Krempasky, professor of Aerospace Studies and Commander of Air Force ROTC Detachment 630, said he thinks the events of 9/11 compelled more Americans to join the military.

“I definitely think 9/11 increased a sense of patriotism both in the military and the U.S. populace,” Colonel Krempasky said. “I believe the main reason for this had to do with the fact that these horrendous attacks took place on our own soil in very visible locations. This made the attacks very real to most of the country that was previously only used to reading about attacks on people in faraway places.”

Wayne Schneider, director of Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, said that in 2002 there was a spike in student enrollment in Military Sciences and Aerospace Studies courses.

Current cadets were in middle and elementary school at the time of the attacks. Although they have not yet officially sworn the oath to be members of the U.S. military, they remember 9/11, and the impact it had on their lives and their decisions to join ROTC.

Senior Josh Henry is the Cadet Wing Commander for the Air Force ROTC. He said he remembered not really understanding what was going on when the planes hit. Henry said the whole day seemed surreal.

“I was in 7th grade in the D.C., area. My dad worked at the Pentagon in the second ring, but he went to work late so he wasn’t there when the plane hit,” Henry said. “It was the quietest day in (Washington, D.C.) the 12 years that I lived there that I ever heard.”

Henry’s decision to join ROTC wasn’t directly influenced by 9/11, but it was a factor. But for David Bown, a senior in aeronautical studies and member of the Air Force ROTC, it was a big influence on why he wanted to join.

“I was in middle school at Minot Air Force Base,” Bown said. “I didn’t understand what was going on.”

Bown said he knew he wanted to do something to help, and he was proud of his dad who was serving in the Air Force.

“I always wanted to serve. 9/11 almost made me want to enlist,” Bown said. “I was happy I was in a family that had a dad in security forces. He was making a difference.”

Contact Megan Tomkins at [email protected].