On Sept. 11, 2001, Jonathan Deveney was daydreaming in history class. Robbie Doherty was in gym class throwing dodge balls and Eric Crowley was sitting in English class when a teacher came in and announced a plane hit the World Trade Center North Tower.
“I honestly didn’t even know what the twin towers were until they got attacked on September 11,” Crowley said. “That day was just like any other until that first plane hit.”
Crowley, a feisty, hard-headed 13-year-old at the time was in 7th grade. “I was too young to really understand the impact of it,” Crowley said, “But eventually I became concerned that World War 3 would start and major cities like Boston would get bombed.”
While a world war did not start on Sept. 12, 2001, 10 years later, the boys have all grown to men—military men. Crowley is 23-years-old and working in the United States Air Force as a structural apprentice. He went to college at Keene State after graduating from Pinkerton Academy but eventually left in May of 2010.
He joined the Air Force because he felt it would offer him a better future. Although it was a defining moment in history, September 11 did not influence his decision to join. From a young age, Crowley knew he wanted to something bigger than himself. Crowley said it felt right to serve his country, and he is constantly reminded of how privileged he is to live in America.
Jonathan Deveney, the boy who had been day dreaming in history class, is now 25. He, like Crowley, would also find that his “passion” resided in the military.
“There were many reasons I joined the Marines,” Deveney explained. “It was a lifelong dream. I also watched others that fought for our country and wanted to join them and do what I could to pay them back.”
On September 11, 2001, Deveney sat down in history class, expecting the teacher would give a lecture and then handout an in-class assignment; the mundane routine Deveney had become accustomed to. At some point, maybe half-way through class, another teacher came into the room and told the class about the first plane crash. He brought in a TV for all the students to watch.
“My first thought was that I hoped that we would get through this horrific event,” said Deveney. “My second was that we need to get whoever did this.”
Deveney sat in front of the TV of his home in Worcester, Massachusetts watching the news for rest of the day and well on into the night.
In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Deveney, who is presently the Officer of Armed Forces Protection, held his own moment of silence for those that died on that day, as well as the thousands of service members who have lost their lives fighting in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It was plain wrong to kill innocent civilians. There are no words for it,” Deveney said. “There will always be that threat, the possibility that another attack could happen. The thing we can do is do our best to reduce the threat and be prepared.”
Robbie Doherty who was once a rambunctious, hyperactive, destined to be class-clown, is 25-years-old. In tenth grade, during gym class, Doherty overheard students talking about an attack in New York. “I wasn’t sure what to think when I first heard, but I was worried other planes would crash down, maybe even at the high school.”
Doherty, along with the rest of his classmates at Nashua High School South, watched the events unfold on TV. They sat in bewilderment on the gym floors.
Doherty, a Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corp. and student at Bay State College, said the rest of the day was hazy. After he saw what the terrorist attacks did, he knew he wanted to help. “I wanted to serve my country and help do what I could to prevent another horrendous attack on the U.S.,” he said.
Although Doherty said the security has advanced since then, he believes it is most certainly possible that another attack could happen because of the terrorist’s willingness and determination to do so.
After ten years, Doherty said he still remembers that day as if it happened last week. “I took some time and reflected on the events and made sure to remember not only the men and women who lost their lives in the attacks, but the men and women that are fighting for our freedom around the world,” he said. “It is important for everyone to not forget about what happened, but it is more important for people to continue on with their daily lives because by living in fear is letting the terrorist win.”

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