By 1st Lt Daniel Cook, 18th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 10, 2021
“I was in second grade, 7 years old, it's one of those memories that is burned in. I can picture coming through the door and seeing the librarian’s reaction as this replayed on the news, shortly thereafter watching that first plane strike the tower. I came home and told my dad, I’m joining the military,” recounted U.S. Air Force 1st Lt Daniel Cook, 18th Security Forces Squadron officer in charge of logistics and readiness, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 10, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)
I was seven years old in second grade it’s one of those memories that’s burned into your mind. You can remember the details of the moment. I remember walking into our school library. I can picture coming through the door and seeing the librarian’s reaction as the events replayed on the news, shortly after watching that first plane strike the tower on this TV she had above her desk.
Immediately, I can recall the feelings. I just knew something was off. The whole school paused and the teachers wheeled in those old TVs into the classroom.
That’s what we were doing that day in second grade. We were watching the events unfold. Shortly after the second plane hit, I think everybody knew that something wasn’t right.
I came home and told my dad, ‘I’m joining the military,’ with no comprehension or understanding of what that meant at the time. I’ve stuck hard to that path.
I remember getting to sixth grade and my cousin graduated from the Air Force Academy. All that did was put a vector on what was already a goal. I knew what I wanted to do. This is how I am going to do it, this is how I want to serve so from sixth grade onward I have been motivated to join but it all stemmed from the events on Sept. 11.
It still means something to me. Some people may think I'm in the age bracket that doesn’t remember or maybe it didn’t affect me but they couldn’t be further from the truth. Sept. 11, was the singular event in my life that drove me to come into service and to this day, it is still a motivating factor. I serve because I don’t want something like Sept. 11 to happen again.