Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11th attacks, the reason behind the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan. Thousands of soldiers from Oklahoma's national guard took part.
Lieutenant Colonel Casey Reed with the Oklahoma National Guard said Afghanistan is where the Oklahoma National Guard has served the most.
"A lot of feelings a lot of triggers for current service members and our veterans," said Lt. Col. Reed.
Many Americans were compelled to enlist office after the World Trade Center towers fell two decades ago. The last military members left Afghanistan about two weeks ago and marks the end of the longest war in American history.
"Afghanistan alone, we had over 8,000 individual soldiers mobilize to Afghanistan." Lt. Col. Reed said. "[the 8,000] is not counting the soldiers that deployed two times, three times, four times."
Even the way the war was fought differed from previous conflicts.
"The No. 1 is the response and the I.E.D attacks and how does the army or marines mitigate those whether they're vehicles, buried, or suicide bombers," Reed said. “They didn't wear uniforms. They were dressed like everybody else. That played into the alert."
Many came home without limbs, with traumatic brain injuries or even bad backs from patrols with all of their heavy gear. Some injuries cannot be seen.
“Anyone that's on alert 24/7 you'll come back with something,” Reed said. “Probably very few that come back that when they're driving down the road here in Oklahoma City are scanning the left and right and see a box on the side of the road for that second to kind of get back."
The hardest part, much like what Vietnam veterans dealt with, is how the war ended.
"A lot of soldiers died. Airmen, marines died,” Reed said. “But I go back to, we were called, and we served so others didn't have to and we did our job.”
The U.S. Army also has a new holistic health and fitness program that promotes things like exercise, mental health, nutrition, sleep and finding a sense of belonging.