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Patriotism in recruits increased enlistment following the 9/11 attacks

US Army Topeka Station Commander SFC Tim Heine.
US Army Topeka Station Commander SFC Tim Heine.(WIBW)
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 7:10 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Following the 9/11 attacks, many Americans felt they needed to do something more so they reached out to military recruiters to join the fight.

Sergeant First Class Tim Heine said recruiting for the armed forces changed overnight after the day in September of 2001.

“September 10 we were recruiting in a peacetime force so it was more of recruiters trying to maintain focus on what was going on in their local communities and then September 11 it changed to where we’re now enlisting people for wartime situation,” he said.

He was in the marine corps at the time of the attacks and would deploy three times over the next 6 years. Once with the marines and twice with the Army.

“It felt like a black eye like it hurt being in the military, being from a military family and a patriotic family. It really hurt. It was something when I found I was deploying, I was proud.”

Now as the US Army Topeka Station Commander, he recruits. He said patriotism among civilians increased following the attacks but the conversations shifted. Prior to the terrorist attacks, recruits’ questions went from being worried about leaving home for basic training -- to leaving the country and fighting.

He went through the same conversations when he decided to leave the marine corps...

“I was getting ready to start a new family. Me and my wife had just gotten married and one of the questions I had was if I join the army right now, what are the chances I get deployed and we still get that question now if I join, what are my chances I’m getting deployed but I don’t have a crystal ball,” he said. “I can’t say yes you’re going to deploy or no you’re not. It depends on what the mission of the army is at the time.”

The army offers more than 150 jobs from combat to combat support to service support so there’s plenty of opportunities to get involved.

Heine has no regrets about his career.

“I met some very wonderful people, great teammates that I’ve worked with. I don’t know, it’s a hard question to answer. I’ve enjoyed it. Yeah, there’s always scary moments but it’s always pushed through. You have your teammates with you and you can make it through just about anything.”

When asked if people are still as patriotic as they were, Heine said, “I think so. I think so and I’d like to keep on with that thought. I hope that hasn’t waned with anybody.”

Heine said recruiters are pushing more toward college education as a reason to sign up. They continue to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill for new recruits -- which offers money to pay for college.

Topeka’s Armed Forces Career Center is located at West Ridge Mall inside the north entrance.

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