Jake Bequette is an Army veteran and former NFL player who is running for Senate in Arkansas as a Republican. With the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks coming up tomorrow, Bequette is opening up about how he “felt the call to wear the uniform” in the wake of the 2001 tragedy.
“I was in my seventh-grade English class. We had a substitute teacher, and she walked into the class and told us the World Trade Center had been bombed,” Bequette, 32, told Fox News of that horrific day twenty years ago. “None of us had any idea what the World Trade Center was, but we knew it was in New York City.”
Bequette was dismissed from school early, and went home to find out that his father, who worked in a skyscraper in Little Rock, had been evacuated from his building.
“We wanted the news coverage as a family, and we all knew we were witnessing history in real time,” he said. “We knew our country would never be the same.”
While 9/11 was undoubtedly a devastating event, Bequette has never forgotten how “unified” the country was in days and weeks afterwards.
“There was such an outpouring of support from all walks of American life,” he recalled. “We saw the worst of humanity, but we also saw the best of America.”
Bequette sees the aftermath of 9/11 as being a very “formative time” for him that changed his life forever.
“I have always believed in public service and in serving this country,” he said. “The war on terror had been omnipresent throughout my childhood and formative years.”
“I felt the call to wear the uniform and serve in the Army, and the context of the time, and places that I served, it was all a result of those things that happened beginning on 9/11,” Bequette continued, adding that “it all truly stemmed from that day.”
Bequette would go on to enlist in the U.S. Army in 2017, completing Army Ranger school the next year and becoming part of the 101st Airborne Division deployed to Iraq.
“I actually came back from Iraq on Sept. 11, 2019,” he explained, saying that this was just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Seeing what has been happening in our country in the last 18 months, the real battle right now is here — it is domestic, it is political, and we need political leaders,” he said. “I felt a calling to do it, and I know I will make a big impact if I am successful in the race.”
When it comes to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Bequette said it has been “infuriating as a veteran, as it has been for so many Americans, and service men —both active duty and veterans.”
“It is a slap in the face, to be quite frank,” he continued. “To see the Taliban regime members using American equipment, wearing American gear, flying American helicopters, using American communications equipment — it is an absolute disgrace.”
Not stopping there, Bequette talked about how “dangerous” it is when the United States does not “project strength on an international stage.”
“It makes the world a less safe place,” he said. “When our enemies worldwide see weakness from the commander in chief like they see now, it emboldens them.”
Bequette concluded by saying that this year, he will be spending the anniversary of 9/11 at his home in Fayetteville, watching his former NFL team the Razorbacks play.
“I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else than the great state of Arkansas,” he said.
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It’s hard to believe that it has been twenty years since the September 11 terrorist attacks, as it is truly a day that none of us who lived through it will ever forget. Bequette is an American hero, and he sounds like exactly the type of person we need in Congress! We would like to thank him for his service, and here’s hoping he ends up victorious in his senatorial race next year.
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This piece originally appeared in RobManess.com and is used by permission.
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