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Wake Up Call: Remembering Sept. 11

Students from Biola and other universities undergo ROTC training at Cal State Fullerton, which teaches them the foundation of military drills. | Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES


Thirteen years later, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks still inspire students to serve in the military.

Biola honors veterans by offering the Ahmanson Veteran Scholarship, awarded to veterans who have current Chapter 33 Post Sept. 11 G.I. Bill benefits, which covers up to $3000 per year of tuition. Biola currently has 90 military veterans among its student population, 27 of whom have received this scholarship, said Rachel Mitchell, financial aid scholarship coordinator.

The tragic events of Sept. 11 affected lives and career plans of students and faculty.

“Sept. 11 was a wake up call saying, ‘Hey, those soldiers are really fighting for something,’” said Taylor Williams, a sophomore physical science and political science major and ROTC member at Biola. “I’ll look back at that day always and say, ‘I know no matter what, I will support our troops.’”

Sept. 11 became the reason for Williams to join ROTC, as it has become for many others, he said.

Graduate philosophy major Matthew Kirby served in the Marines. The Sept. 11 attacks impacted his role as a marine fighting in the war on terror.

“It just really boiled my blood when I thought about these people out there who had nothing better to do than concoct ways to harm innocent people. I wanted to do something about it,” Kirby said.

Senior psychology major Raquel Willis, who served in the Navy, said the Sept. 11 attacks increased her desire to promote safety for Americans and all mankind.

“We are all human beings. Some of us have different values and different belief systems, but at the end of the day, we are all connected through our humanity,” Willis said.

Sophomore nursing major Dominee Roehm’s father, who worked as a superintendent in the Air Force, was headed to the Pentagon from Japan on Sept. 11. Although she was seven years old at the time, Roehm recalls feelings of fear and loss as she watched the reports of the attacks. She thought her father had been killed.

“It’s a day we need to remember. It’s the day I almost lost my dad,” Roehm said.  

Roehm said Sept. 11 still carries a lot of weight for her. Americans should not only remember the tragedy of the twin tower attacks, but also the attacks on the Pentagon and the American citizens of Flight 93 and the policemen, firemen and civilians who died that day, Roehm said.

Kirby said that it is important for Americans to remember Sept. 11 and the possibility of another terrorist attack happening on U.S. soil.

“It’s important to try and personally retain the awareness that something like Sept. 11 could happen again, easily. Don’t take peace for granted, because the peace we have in America is rare,” Kirby said.

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