Today is the first day that children born after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, can enlist to fight in the war in Afghanistan. Children born on September 12, 2001, will turn 17 today, and can decide if they wish to enroll in the United States military. The Washington Post reports that approximately 5.5 million troops have served since 9/11, and nearly 7,000 have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 17 years that followed. Veterans also told the Post that there’s an obvious divide between those who enlisted because of the attacks—the Pentagon reported an enlistment surge of 8 percent through 2005—and those who weren’t even alive the day it happened. Many of the new recruits now say they’re entering the military to fulfill a sense of adventure, or to secure benefits for their family, which mirrors the ambitions of those who enlisted before 9/11. Some soldiers who were toddlers during the attack, the Post notes, have already died in service.
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