From the Cop and the Soldier side: I'm sure you all can recall what you were doing when you heard about the attacks on 9/11/01.
I was off duty from my cop job, so I was working out at home. I got calls from lots of people who just said: "turn on the TV NOW!"
I turned on the TV and was watching the first tower burn...seconds later that second plane hit the other tower. I knew at that instant that it was not an accident and that I would somehow get involved with my National Guard unit.
When I went back to my cop job, we were getting dumbass calls on 911: "there's a piper plane flying around, I'm afraid it's terrorist."
Those were some of the days I wish the Police Department had an unlisted phone number.
Within months, our unit was sending troops off to Afghanistan and Gitmo. (They were in great demand for Mess Kit Repair teams). I was still going through the "2 year" training program, so I missed out on the first wave of deployments... and I was a little upset. I was afraid that all the fighting and stuff would be all over before I finished getting my new MOS.
The training program I went through was a total of 8 weeks spread out over 2 years. (not 8 hours a day 5 days a week, but usually 10-12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week.)
Shortly after we were "qualified" for Mess Kit Repair, another battalion called a bunch of us to go get ready in Jan 2003-- to go to Iraq. My enlistment was up in Jan 2003, but I was put on "Stop Loss" because they really needed Mess Kit Repairmen.
We went down to Camp Roberts, CA in Jan 03 and went through the mob process and pre-training. This "other" battalion really wanted several of us to go with them...they would be part of the initial raid into Iraq later that year.
After this prep and pre training, we were told that we were not going to Iraq, but we were needed to go to Bosnia. I was kind of glad, then upset. I was afraid the Iraq thing would be all over before we got back from Bosnia.
Just before we went to Bosnia, I re-enlisted for 6 more years. Yeah, I guess you can call me a retard. I just felt it was the right thing to do. Even with my "stop loss" my enlistment would have expired while I was in Bosnia, so they would have not been able to deploy me. I felt I needed to go.
We came home from Bosnia in 2004 and 3 months later they asked all of us Bosnia Vets to go to Iraq. 3 months later I was in Baghdad. There was about 14 others who did the same thing. None of us had to go to Iraq...but we did. We felt it was our duty....or we were retarded.
When I see the twin towers getting hit by terrorist, it still pisses me off. If they needed me to go again...guess what.