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Updated: 09/18/2011 8:36 AM
Created: 09/11/2011 10:23 PM | Print |  Email
By: Michelle Knoll

Many Minn. Soldiers Overseas Moved to Join Military After 9/11

In Baghdad and at U.S. bases across Iraq and Kuwait, troops paused Sunday to mark the 9/11 anniversary including the Minnesota Red Bulls.

At Camp Adder, Iraq, the National Guard stopped to remember the 6,200 American soldiers who have died since 9/11.

One soldier at that ceremony, Private Nathan Jarl from Brooklyn Park, was just 9-years-old at the time of the attacks. He was in the 3rd grade. Now he's serving in Iraq.

For some other Minnesotans stationed in Iraq, 9/11 did not just stun them; it moved them to action.

Newly married, West St. Paul native Corbin Dantzscher is on his third deployment. Johnny Wadsworth of Eagan daydreamed of being a hero in school. After the attacks, he talked to a military recruiter. He was 16 at the time.

Gordy Giswold and his wife quit their well-paying corporate jobs in Milwaukee so the Air Force veteran could move to Cold Spring and join the guard. He's now in for life.

Fellow Captain Matt Bruns joined ROTC a week after 9/11. In 2004, his wife, Amanda, told him they were pregnant. Two days later, he got orders to deploy. The Lakeville couple now has three kids.

Now, 10 years after the attacks, those Minnesotans still in the fight in Iraq and Kuwait say their determination burns no less bright a decade later.

Click here to watch our entire week-long series, Leading the Troops Home, with reporter Mark Albert and photojournalist Chris Hansen embedded with the Minnesota National Guard in Iraq and Kuwait.