On September 11, 2001 Jordan Towers was just a teenager. He remembers listening to the radio, but not believing what had just happened. It wasn’t until he turned on the television later and saw the images that it really hit him that the U.S. was under attack.
“I didn’t directly feel threatened, but thought the country as a whole was vulnerable and open to more attacks. At the time my emotions were high as well the whole country and so I felt a need to do something,” Jordan says.
Several months later, he made the decision to join the Marine Corps. In part it was to earn money to go to college through the GI Bill, but he was also motivated by the attacks on 9/11 which is why he chose to specifically join the Infantry.
“I thought I would go to Afghanistan and avenge the terrorists who attacked us. Instead I deployed to Iraq,” he says. But over time Jordan’s feelings changed as he learned more about our nation’s plans, goals and political motivation.
He says, “When you lie to a troop who puts their life on the line it really hits home and made me feel like I was technically “inside the circle” by default as a service member, but kept in the dark like everyone else.”
Looking back 10 years his perception has completely changed. Just being in the military has forever changed his life, even more so since he was in combat zones in Iraq. At 23 years old his service was over and he transitioned to the veteran community, an identity he says is for the rest of his life.
“Now I’m an Iraq War veteran and always will be. When I joined I thought when I got out I would just be a regular person –just go back to the way I used to be,” says Jordan.
At times it has been tough for Jordan to relate to everyday people who are not vets like him. When people ask him about serving in the Iraq War, he sometimes wonders if it is a loaded question and an attempt to justify our current wars. “I think we should exit both these wars in order to save the lives of the troops who are still in danger. I think the most important thing civilians can learn from vets is that war is ugly and nothing good comes of it,” says Jordan.
For Jordan, serving and going to war has completely changed who he is and what he does. “My everyday lifestyle revolves around veterans’ issues –organizing around veteran causes, being active in the community and raising awareness, improving programs,” says Jordan.
Support returning veterans this month by donating $9, $10, or $11 for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.