Leaving College to Pick Up the Fight
1st Lt. John McJunkin, the Regional Command Southwest Operation and Maintenance Marine Corps Budget Officer at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan, September 2, 2011. Photo by Cpl. Katherine Keleher, USMC (Released).
Story by Cpl. Katherine Keleher , II MEF (FWD) . Originally appeared on Marines.mil.
Many Americans remember where they were when they heard the news on September 11, 2001. They remember watching the planes crash into the World Trade Center towers and listening to the news about the plane crash at the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 crashing into a field in Shanksville, Pa. Some felt sorrow, anger or fear. Others felt a call to serve. First Lt. John McJunkin was one of the latter.McJunkin, a native of Houston, was sleeping in his dormitory room, at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas, that Tuesday morning before class. His door flew open and his roommate yelled at him to wake up, that America was under attack.The two made their way to the building’s common area, where the second plane flying into the south tower was replaying on a big-screen TV.“We didn’t know exactly what was happening, but the biggest thing that was going through my head once we found out that Osama Bin Ladin and Al Qaeda were taking claim for it was ‘Why?,’” he explained nearly 10 years after the tragic day.
On October 7, 2001, President George W. Bush announced America was going to war.
“He said that we were going to war and that it was a holy war,” McJunkin reflected. “That was when I said ‘okay, I’m going to pick up arms. I’m going to protect our freedom of religion that is provided in America. I’m not going to allow extremism through Islamic jihad to grow and affect our way of life. It’s just not going to happen on my watch.’”
McJunkin left college and landed himself on the yellow footprints of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, July 29, 2002.
Read more here.
The Department of Defense is honoring the actions of dedication, valor, strength, service and resilience demonstrated by the American people and the Armed Forces throughout the last ten years after September 11th, 2001.
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