EUGENE, Ore. — For many community members, Wednesday was day to remember the lives lost on September 11, 2001. For many local vets, the 9/11 attack drastically changed their lives.
As flags around the city flew at half-staff, many people who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan say they celebrate their freedom and use September 11 as a day of remembering their comrades who didn’t return from overseas.
Most people can remember exactly what they were doing 12 years ago.
“I was in 8th grade when September 11 happened and I was mad because I was too young,” said Joshua Panzicka, Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran.
“I was in infantry training in Fort Benning, Georgia, we were taking a class on land navigation and we got excused for a break and as I was coming back our drill sergeants told us that the world trade centers had been hit,” said Paul Smith, Army Veteran.
For some local veterans, 9/11 was their call to action.
“It was still going on when I graduated high school; so I joined, went into the army and went and did my thing,” Panzicka said.
For others, it was a day that altered their plans in service.
“When 9/11 happened and it came out that Al Qaeda and the Taliban was behind it, you know. All of a sudden our enemy had a face, so it definitely changed the dynamics about what my service was.” Smith said.
“You need to pack your ditty bag, you need to pack your sea bag, we’re getting underway, we’re in war, America’s under attack,” said Taunesha Dixon, Navy Veteran.
Caused others to re-enlist.
“I had been out of the guard for a while at that time and I went back in,” said Michael Lucero, National Guard Veteran.
Now that they’re all back home, this was a day for reflecting. Remembering those lost in the attack on the World Trade Centers and all the lives lost overseas during the last 12 years.
“We lost a lot of good people that day and the days after, I mean it’s still happening,” said James Andrew Johnson Jr., Navy Veteran.
Some vets said they’d be willing to re-enlist and return overseas if there’s another war anytime soon.