KILLEEN, Texas — The events on 9/11 lead to the Global War on Terror that is still ongoing — a war that vets serving at the time weren't expecting until they saw the news and reported to work.
”They briefed us and told us that we had just been attacked on American soil,” said retired U.S. Army veteran serving during 9/11, Edwina Bivins.
According to the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, between 1.9 and 3 million service members served following 9/11.
Retired Sergeant First Class Jeffrey Krenzer was serving at the time of the attacks and heard the news while he was stationed in Korea.
”We were getting ready to go to the field the next day and I was up late because it was later there," Krenzer said.
“I was up late at night packing and on the news came across things about planes hitting the twin towers.”
Back home at what was then Fort Hood, then Staff Sergeant Edwina Bivins was on her way to work at the 4th Infantry Division headquarters when she turned on the radio and heard the news.
”At first I thought it was a hoax,” Bivins said.
“I though someone had taken control of the air waves until I went into work and they actually gave us a briefing and told us exactly what they thought was happening at the time.”
It was a sign that things were about to change.
”I felt like halfway then that we were on lockdown because they were trying to figure out what we were going to do next,” Bivins said.
It was the start of the Global War on Terror that has left many who served in Iraq and Afghanistan with lifelong injuries.
”Just because you don’t see an injury doesn’t mean that it’s not there," Krenzer said.
“There's people that struggle with mental health big time. There’s people that struggle with respiratory issues big time from those burn pits.”
It was an attack that would change they Americans thought about defending America and left them with a lesson they would never forget.
”Anything could happen at any time,” Krenzer said.
“You never see it coming and something bad happens just like 9/11.”
”It’s just like they say, never forget and I think that’s a good message,” Bivins said.
Thousands of men and women were enlisted in the military when 9/11 happened and thousands more joined because of it.
Many of them deployed to the war that began soon after and are still dealing with the effects of that war today.