Some college students were fearful at the thought of going to war, but others said they'd sign up.
VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
Across the region, university students may be united in fear and anger about terrorist attacks on the United States, but they are divided on whether they'll volunteer if the country goes to war.
"America is great, but it's nothing to die for. I'm not suicidal," said LaVar Warden, 24, a sophomore at Youngstown State University.
"I'm from New York. That's my city," he continued. "I'm glad none of my family was hurt or on a plane, but no, I wouldn't volunteer."
Neither would Brandy Letson, 21, a junior studying to be a dental hygienist at YSU.
"That's great, the people that can go," she said, "but I never saw myself as one in the Army." The Akron native isn't sure why she can't picture herself in the military, but she is certain she wouldn't volunteer.
Wants to help: Apryl Donaldson, 18, a freshman in YSU's College of Health and Human Services and an Austintown resident said she "would probably volunteer. I'd like to help out our country."
Her classmate, Ryan Conway, 18, doesn't agree with her reasoning. "I wouldn't volunteer at all," he said. "My stepdad volunteered when the Vietnam War came around, but I see no point in it."
Conway, from Austintown, is a freshman in YSU's College of Arts and Sciences.
"I already did that. I just got out of the military, so I wouldn't be one of the first to sign up," said Andrea Westfall, 23. The way she sees it, she's already fulfilled her obligation to serve her country.
Westfall, of North Lima, is enrolled in YSU's College of Arts and Sciences.
Having served in the U.S. Marine Corps, Westfall said she hopes to spend the next four years on inactive duty. "That basically means you go once a year to make sure you still have that trigger finger," she explained.
While her family is concerned that she might be called on to return to active duty, Westfall believes that is a remote possibility. "To do that, they'd practically have to reinstate the draft, and they're not going to do that," she said.
Aaron Workman, 18, wouldn't volunteer to go to war either.
Would be afraid: "I would be terrified. I'm a thinker, not a doer," she said. "I would sooner be on a team trying to think of solutions."
Workman, an East Palestine resident, is a freshman in YSU's College of Fine and Performing Arts.
If the United States declared war, would you volunteer?
"Nope," snapped John Pauline, 19. The YSU freshman and computer science major said he doesn't have a specific reason why he wouldn't volunteer to serve his country, he just wouldn't.
Pauline is from Cortland.
John Zucco, 20, doesn't have a specific reason why he would volunteer.
"It's just something you do for your country. If I had to go, I would," he said.
Zucco, of Youngstown, is a sophomore in YSU's College of Arts and Sciences.
At Penn State Shenango in Sharon, Pa., Marty Zenobi of Grove City said he doesn't think he would volunteer.
"I don't think I would be of any benefit. I think it would be less troops and more technical," said the 20-year-old information systems technology major.
"I really don't think the U.S. is interested in losing more lives," Zenobi said, but added, if the need arose, he would reassess his position.
Would do it: Richard Elsbury of New Castle, a human development and family services major at the Shenango campus who said he is over 40, said he would volunteer without hesitation.
"I served in the Persian Gulf," Elsbury said, noting he was with an Air Force First Tactical Fighter unit that was the first American unit in Desert Shield.
Elsbury said he is bothered when young people say they fear they might have to serve in the military in the event of war.
"It's their duty to protect their country," he said, adding that the terrorist attack was "an attack on freedom."
Meagan Cleary, 21, of Sharon, also a human development and family services major at the campus, said she would volunteer, "If I could just leave my job and school."
Cleary holds down a full-time job and is a full-time student.
"If I had no obligations, I'd be there in a minute," she said.
Kip Stephey, 44, a Sharon native, works with children who have been through the juvenile court system, and is back in college to get a degree in human development and family services.
"I'd volunteer, but they probably wouldn't take me," he said, explaining he has a congenital hip problem that would make him ineligible.
Still, Stephey said he would be willing to serve in some capacity other than in combat.
"I don't know. I would probably go, if they needed me," said Melinda Noble, 21, of Greenville, as she sat in a student lounge at the campus watching the latest news on the terrorist attacks.
She is also a human development and family services major.
Similar views: At Kent State University Trumbull Campus in Champion, students' sentiments are similar.
"It honestly would depend on the situation -- who or what country it's against," said Joe Conroy, 17, a Hubbard High School student who attends classes at the college.
If the draft were reinstated, he'd go voluntarily rather than wait to be drafted.
News of the attacks unsettled him, but he wasn't surprised.
"With events of the last 30 years, it wasn't an issue of if, but when," Joe said. "But the president stood up and showed leadership for us."
Sara Filicky, also 17 and a Hubbard High School student, would sign up if her asthma wouldn't prevent it.
Her 23-year-old brother is in a helicopter division in the military.
"He's on call, waiting," she said. "Most of the pilots are."
Another group of KSU students gathered in a lounge, playing pool with a big screen television tuned to the latest news this week.
Shaina Banks of Warren, a freshman studying advertising, said she wouldn't enlist.
"I'm sorry, I'm a wimp," she said.
Her father is an Air Force veteran and her brother also is in the service, so she believes her family is well-represented in the armed forces.
Dana Warren, 23, of Bristolville, served as a truck driver in the military and was discharged two years ago.
"There's a 95 percent chance I'd go back to the National Guard and get on a reserve list," said Warren, a junior who is studying business management.
The attacks make her angry.
"If they can do this to the United States, they can do it to anyone," Warren said.
Do your part: She believes everyone should do something.
"If you can give blood, give blood," Warren said. "It's a needle. If you can pray, pray. If you're just going to sit there and do nothing and say, 'Oh, protect me.' Get out."
Raquel Hopkins of Warren, a junior majoring in business, would sign up also. But she worries that if a war continues long-term, her 16-year-old son would have to fight. The attacks occurred on her 34th birthday.
Her husband, Keith, 26, a junior electrical engineering major, served in the Army for four years and was discharged four years ago. He said he'd re-enlist.
Lauren Hawkins, 18, of Warren, is a freshman majoring in mass communication, and views things differently.
"I think I can do more by praying and giving blood," she said.
Hawkins believes the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., may be the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
"The best way for Americans to deal with this is to get on their knees and pray," she said.
"I think it's the beginning of the end," Banks added, also pointing to how recent events correspond to Scripture.
Cautious: Hawkins believes the United States needs to respond to the attack but cautions, "Two wrongs don't make a right."
"Something should be done but not exactly like they did," she said.
Julian Smith, 18, of Warren, would enlist.
"I'd go for my country," said Smith, a freshman who is undecided about his major.
Brandon Martin's decision is more dependent on the circumstances.
"As of right now, no," said Martin, 20, of Warren. "I think some people just want to go to war, want to retaliate.
Martin is a sophomore journalism major.
"If we had the actual facts about who did it and had a plan, most likely I probably would," he said.
The students said the tragedy and its ripple effects have been on their minds since Tuesday.
Martin's girlfriend is in a National Guard unit in Atlantic City, N.J., and on high alert.
Taj Williams, 18, would enlist if he were able to serve in a capacity that matches his field of study. The Bloomfield freshman is majoring in nursing.
"I am pretty angry," he said. "I never thought this would happen in America -- never. It made us a little concerned: Are we able to protect ourselves?"
Immigration issues: Some of the students believe tighter restrictions at the border is a way to stop similar events in the future.
Raquel Hopkins, whose father emigrated from Mexico 40 years ago, thinks many immigrants take advantage of the system, having their children in the United States to get on the welfare rolls.
"Some of them [the terrorists] probably worked here to get the money to do it," she said.
Warren favors a policy where people from other countries apply for entry and their backgrounds are reviewed before they enter the U.S.
"This is a melting pot, but we have to live too."
XCONTRIBUTORS: Maraline Kubik, Vindicator staff writer; Denise Dick, Niles Bureau, and Harold Gwin, Sharon bureau