SGT Marivel Perez, U.S. Army (2001-2011)



The following Reflection represents SGT Marivel Perez’s legacy of their military service from 2001 to 2011. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life.

Where did you go to Boot Camp/ Basic Training? What specific memories do you have of instructors, fellow recruits and any rigorous training?:

22 years ago, I was an 18-year-old who had just joined the Army. On 9/10 and 9/11 2001, I was at Fort Jackson, South Carolina conducting my final field training exercise in Basic Training.

That morning, after setting up fox holes in the rain, pulling guard duty in the cold, and feeling completely drained from marching to the middle of nowhere the night before, we woke up, and were informed by our Drill Sergeants that our country had been attacked.

That night we had different obstacles to complete which included live fire and a 12 mile ruck march back to the barracks. The Drill Sergeants made it very clear that we should not take this training lightly, for some of us would be going to war. The whole night, while I conducted several obstacles, live fire, and marched back with a heavy ruck on my back and a rifle in my hands, I felt exhausted,  but I kept marching because I kept replaying the whole scenario in my head even though none of us ever saw the footage of the attacks.

At that moment, I felt the real duty of what it meant to be a Soldier. I felt a great deal of pressure to complete that march even though my body was telling me I couldn’t. As the sun slowly came up on Sept.12th, I remember finally arriving at the barracks to the sounds of Eye of the Tiger blazing from the speakers. It was the day I earned the title SOLDIER.

We all say we remember where we were that day and some of us are unfazed by this day, but I can’t forget because it was an incredibly difficult day for me. Knowing what happened that day gave me the courage to fight even harder that night even though I had no strength left in me.

2 years later, I continued that fight in Iraq for 16 months. Although I have tough days now, I have to remind myself of the strength I once had and these “tough days” are in no way comparable. I tell my story because as people, we tend to forget how one moment can change your life forever. 9/11 changed and affected the course of my life that day at Fort Jackson. 9/11 is a daily reminder to me that we shouldn’t take our lives and loved ones for granted. It also reminds me of what incredible strength we had as a country even though it was a horrible time. It is a testament to how strong we are to fight another day even though we feel defeated at times. 

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Tags: 9/10 and 9/11 2001, Fort Jackson, Military Memories of our Runner-Ups, South Carolina

1 Comment

  1. Robert Pryor

    Sharp salute, SGT Perez. A hearty thank you to all those who picked up the torch for us FOGs. I was in Lower Manhattan on 9/11. I wish that I could have been at your side in Iraq to help guard the gates of freedom.


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