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No Surge of Young NY Men Joining Military Despite Patriotic Fervor - 2001-09-22


Emotion is running high in New York City as a result of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. American flags are flying all over the city and patriotic messages have been posted on walls and shop windows. But, there has been no significant upsurge in volunteers for U.S. military service.

At the military recruiting center in Times Square, a 28-year-old immigrant from the Dominican Republic named Angel Tice showed up Friday and joined the U.S. Army. He says he did it for the country where he has lived for the past 20 years and because he wants a future free of terror for his three young daughters. "It is because my daughters were born here. My family was born here. So that's why I have to think of them and their future," he said.

He says he also knew many people who worked in the World Trade Center and that, while most of his friends have been accounted for and are safe, he is not sure if some others survived.

New York area military recruiters say they have had some fresh recruits like Mr. Angel since the World Trade tower attack, but that most of the people contacting them are veterans who recently left the service. These more experienced people can be especially valuable because of the skills and training they have received and their familiarity with military life.

Recruiters say they have received hundreds of phone calls from former military men and women expressing an interest in rejoining the services they left. The New York Recruitment officers say such people are welcome as long as they are below the age of 34.

Recruiters say hundreds of men in their 40's have been calling over the past week wanting to know if they can re-enlist. But recruiters say that, while they appreciate the patriotism of these veterans, they are too old to go back into service. Recruiters also say the number of young, fresh recruits could go up once it is clear who and where the enemies are and what the U.S. government plans to do to fight them.