Military officials say more U.S. soldiers have now died in Iraq than the number of people killed in the September 11th attacks.
National Guardsman Jack Duff says his year of service was a constant reminder of September 11th.
"I took my ASVAB on September 11th, 2001, so I remember thinking, this is a sign. I was so nervous about it," Duff said.
Duff and his squad mate, Joe Collete, say the day the twin towers fell, they knew their lives would change.
"I actually resigned for three years because of September 11th," said Joe Collett.
And now, 2,978 soldiers have lost their lives. That's five more than the number of victims killed in the very attack that brought them to serve.
"Sometimes, the only thing you think is that you're putting your life on the line. That's the only reason you're there," Collett said.
"They could lose their lives and that's a hard reality to face, but that's better than, it's easier to accept that fact than one of your family members being killed here in the U.S. in an act of terrorism," Duff said.
But one veteran says that no matter the politics behind the fight, the soldiers feel the call to duty.
"They say why, but we never said why, because we knew," said Jim Smith, Kentucky National Guard Veteran.
From Vietnam to terrorism, these soldiers say they will continue to fight for every life at home, and overseas.
"For them, that's an every day occurrence. Not losing 3,000, but a car bomb going off and killing 20 people. That's something that just happens and they live with it," Duff said.
"Whether it be one or 1,000, you'd fight just as much for one person being killed as 1,000 people," Smith said.
Military officials say 90 soldiers have died so far in December, making it the second deadliest month for U.S. troops this year. 105 U.S. soldiers died in October.