ABC7 spoke with four local Marine recruiters who are part of that class of service men and women who were inspired to enlist by the events of Sept. 11. Sgt. Desiderio Noyola was in junior high school thinking about a career as a computer engineer when hijacked planes hit the twin towers and changed his focus.
"Seeing that happen made me grow up a lot faster and made me want to join the Marine Corps," Noyola said.
Sgt. Dusty Hawk remembered seeing the 9/11 attacks on television in school. He was in the eighth grade.
The day's events stayed with him until he was old enough to enlist and trade in his football and wrestling dreams for a Marine uniform.
"I ended up going to high school and got all-state in both [sports], but I chose to go into the Marine Corps over those two because I wanted to defend my country," Hawk said.
Sgt. Jeremias Carrillo was a high school athelete during 9/11. The Mexican-born Marine was the first in his family to serve in the military.He actually enlisted without telling his family.
"It just hit me in the heart," Carrillo said. "I wanted to make a difference and I didn't want to take the easy route."
For recruiter Juan Deleon, 9/11 prompted a career change. College-educated, he was working in the family construction business at the time of the attacks. He was also a new father. He enlisted in the Marine Corps at 27.
"I thought it [was the] honorable thing to do for the country and for my kid to look up to me…" Deleon said.
All four recruiters have been deployed, some twice, and they plan to retire from the military.