So many of us can remember how on 9/11 it only took an instant for Americans to go from feeling like we were living in the safest place on earth to being in a state of shock, confusion, and fear.
It's that feeling that inspired thousands to join the armed services and fight in the inevitable war to come.
A war sparked by the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
The world watched as planes crashed into the Twin Towers, causing panic in the streets and taking the lives of thousands. Over 200,000 thousand men and women enlisted in America’s armed forces.
It was a calling that not only reached the ears of American citizens but the hearts of foreign citizens like U.S. Army SFC. Fernandez Calvet, who was visiting America with his family and couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
”We were very scared when I saw a lot of people die in that moment you know," said U.S Army SFC. Fernandez Calvet. "We saw all the videos and that was very, very sad.”
He was visiting on a tourist and work visa from Peru and teaching at a community college in Pennsylvania, but having spent 11 years in the Air Force in Peru the combat medic inside took over.
A gut feeling made him want to take action even though there was nothing he could do.
”Actually, I tried to see if I could go and help them but it was not possible because at that time I was in Pennsylvania,” said SFC Fernandez Calvet.
In fact, he immediately tried to join the United States Army but pushing his 36th birthday, he was told he was too old.
As the war in Iraq raged on, now SFC Fernandez Calvet continued to pray for his opportunity to fight, and six long years after 9/11, his prayers were answered when the age limit was raised.
”Really I feel special because they come ... looking for me," said Calvet. "They said, you are 41 and 11 months and you can join now if you want and I said yes. My wife obviously said no because they’re going to kill you but I said 'No, this is what I wanted as soon as I got in this country and this is my opportunity,'” said Calvet.
He is a true warrior who never gave up after seeing the devastation left in the wake of the 9/11 attack.
”Those six years I was waiting for my opportunity," said SFC Fernandez Calvet. "I was praying for that and finally, I got it.”
SFC Fernandez Calvet was inspired to fight for America 20 years ago and he got his chance in 2007.
”Actually, I never think about my immigration status," said SFC Fernandez Calvet. "My inspiration was those people who died in that time. That was my inspiration because I love people. They are my brother, my sister you know.”
September 11, 2001, shook our nation and inspired thousands to enlist in the military in response and the tragedy of that day continues to inspire our nation's warriors, even 20 years later.
Thousands of men and women just like SFC. Fernandez Calvet chose to go to war and fight to make sure that attacks 9/11 never happen again.