U.S. veterans reflect on 9/11

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Veterans who joined the military in whole or in large part due to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 have a unique perspective on this 14th anniversary.

It’s not surprising that many of them are disheartened by the way Iraq is now.  One third of it is controlled by the terror group ISIS, and refugees are pouring out of the country to find safety and a better life.

Dillon Cannon joined the military in 2005, and says he was the first in his company to be wounded upon arriving in Iraq in 2006. He took a sniper’s bullet through his neck and is now paralyzed. We ask him, how does he feel about his service?

“I feel I've given away my ability to walk for, I'd say, the end result of nothing,” Cannon said. 

He feels good about his activity and recovery since such a devastating injury, but he struggles to maintain a positive outlook because he’s worried about the United States.

“Every day is a fight, but, besides being disabled or not,  whatever the cause may be, I'm worried about what's going to happen if nothing’s done.”

Cannon says if ISIS is allowed to grow, seemingly unchecked, they will become an increasing threat to our safety here in America.

“I would definitely say these people need to be eradicated. Wiped out,” Cannon says. “I'm not going to say kill them. That's too strong of a word. I was in the military, so I know what goes on. But these people need to be taken care of. The whole issue needs to be taken care of.

We also talked with Bryan Escobedo, who watched the 9/11 attack unfold from his high school class room.

“During the transition from when the first plane hit and we turned on the TV, we saw the 2nd plane hit within just a few minutes,” Escobedo said.  “I knew right then I was going to be a United States Marine.”

So he joined the Marines in 2003, served 3 tours of duty in Iraq, and suffers from brain injuries from Improvised Explosive Devices, known as IEDs.With his sacrifice, we also ask him how he feels about his service. He tells Fox26 he and his men did their best and did a good job carrying out their mission.

“We definitely reduced the powers the terrorists had when my feet were on the ground,” he says.

But he says he’s shocked that the US has let Iraq return to terrorist control.

“When our boots left the deck, our government was responsible for making sure things stayed in order,” Escobedo said. “They failed their mission. We didn't fail ours.”

But Escobedo still takes it personally. He described the cute Iraqi children who adored the American soldiers. He knows that those children have grown to fighting age, and he wonders what they are doing now.

“Did we do enough to make sure those kids grew up in a good country where they have a future? Or did we let them down.”

He answers his own question.  The US let them down.

“To me,  that keeps me up at night,” Escobedo says.