BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Thousands across our country daily make the ultimate sacrifice to protect and serve the United States. A veteran of the U.S. Army who continues to serve as a Bakersfield police officer opens up and recalls how his life changed 19 years ago on 9/11.
"I was enlisted in the U.S. Army that day it happened, I was actually getting ready to get on a plane..when it happened. I was at Fort Riley Kansas and we were planning to come here to California for a 45-day trading."
Terrance Lewis is a motor officer for the Bakersfield Police Department and while reflecting on the anniversary of 9/11, he recalls the devastating moment that took place 19 years ago. He says it was just his second year serving in the army when his battalion heard the news.
"It felt like a punch in the gut seeing what was going on in T.V. and realizing, wow I'm in the army right now and it's my time to go out and defend the country," said Lewis.
Lewis shares he spent six years in active duty and two years in the reserves.
He was a part of the early set of troops sent over to fight in the war and says he lost a dear friend and many others who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"People think of it, why would you want to go to war, and I think of it not everyone gets an opportunity to do that- you are defining your country and putting your life on the line. Few people get that opportunity."
Despite the tragic loss, that changed a great deal of American life, officer Lewis shares in the midst of tragedy his battalion, and the U.S became even more united. He says he is honored to continue to serve as a first responder.
"You prepare yourself mentally every day and you go through different scenarios in your head and even when your off work..and you think your life can change at a drop of a dime and you raise your right hand you swore to protect the citizens of Bakersfield and if something like that ever happens. I will always be the first to go on."