MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Their reasons for joining the military were all different - some volunteered, others were drafted. On Veterans Day, the country honors their selfless service in times of war.
WMBF News's Heather Biance sat down with a group of veterans representing every every war from the current conflict in Iraq to World War II.
"I felt proud to be an American. I felt a new kind of strength to be considered a man at 17," says World War II Veteran, Alford Powell.
Others, like Vietnam veteran Carl Crowthers, were drafted. The then-27-year-old went from being a salesman to a medic in eight short weeks of training.
"It was very fulfilling, but on the other hand I saw a lot of casualties and lost some good friends while I was there," says Crowthers.
It's been more than 40 years, but even after all this time, it takes one mention of James' name to bring him back in time.
Crowther's goes on, "He pleaded to me everyday Lieutenant, Lieutenant, I'm going to die, I'm going to die. And I said 'James, I'll get you out of here as soon as I can.' But there was just no replacement. Medics were short at the time. That weighs on me."
"I arrived in Breheimen, Germany which is right up in the North Sea and it was good to get off the boat," says World War II veteran Arthur W. Carr.
Korean War veteran Bob Gift had a different duty. "I was checking the weather data so the planes would have accurate data. I was stationed from London, to Germany, to North Africa."
On Veterans Day, they reflect on being one of the lucky ones.
"For a lot of people getting up and getting in their car and driving to the store real quick and getting whatever they want - is just how their lives have been since they were young. But when you take that away from you, and you take the fact away that you can't just get up in the middle of the night and get a drink of water. And if you do, it's out of a warm bottle, out of a pallet in the sand," says Iraq war combat veteran, Cliff Goble.
Their ages, their branches, their wars all vary, and they all deserve to be honored.
"It doesn't matter what branch you're in. You are going to change, if you serve. And by just someone saying 'thanks' - means a whole lot to a lot of people, because it means that you aren't forgotten," says Goble.
"A few simple words really means a lot. Just acknowledgement. A veteran is someone who wrote a blank check payable to The United States up to and including their life. That's what a veteran does," says Desert Storm combat veteran, William Furgione.
"I am as proud as I can be to be an American. I would enlist again if thought I was any value," says Powell.
Watch Heather's extended interviews with these veterans above, and find Veteran's Day events and deals in the sidebar to this story.