Chris Higginbotham doesn’t know the exact reason why he decided to join the U.S. Army in 2003.
“I feel that there was a sense of purpose for joining the Army after 9/11,” he said. “There was that sense of patriotism that people got after 9/11. Two years later it hadn’t worn off for me — it kept lingering.”
Higginbotham, 31, said he got the idea to join the army after spring break during his senior year at Appalachian State University. He said he was having difficulty finding a job and decided to enlist after watching TV reporters embedded with the Army.
“It was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing that stuck with me,” he said. “I’m sure there were several pools going around to see how long I would last.”
Higginbotham was a junior when the planes struck the twin towers. He said he had just finished a class when he went to the university’s student union and saw people gathered around a TV.
“When I saw the two buildings burning I didn’t know what was going on,” he said.
Two years later as he was preparing to graduate, Higginbotham shocked his family and friends when he told them of his decision to enlist in the army.
His mother, Debby Higginbotham, said her son mentioned enlisting when he was in high school, but she and her husband dissuaded him.
“I didn’t think he would finish college and then join the Army,” she said.