This Monday marks Memorial Day in the U.S.
The federal holiday where Americans honor and pay tribute to those who've lost their lives while serving in the military.
The day which also signals the unofficial start to summer, originated in the years following the Civil War, which ended in 1865, the country establishing a Decoration Day where the nation could decorate the graves of those who died in war with flowers.
Well, over 100 years later, in 1971, Congress made it an official holiday.
cnn had the chance to speak with a few veterans in active-duty military about the first time they knew they wanted to serve their country.
When I was laying there, I really, you know, didn't think that I was going to make it.
The Marines that were around me. I'm sure that they didn't think I was going to make it either.
So, you know, it really shows me that I'm here for a reason.
What really made things clear for me was looking back at my life up to, you know, this point.
I always did everything for myself and I never really took a step back and said, you know what, I just need to start doing things for other people.
And I knew that I could do that in the Marines.
My dad was furious. My dad didn't talk to me for like a solid month. He really hated it when I said, I was on leave to go to the military.
I'm from Chicago originally. I'm from the south side.
We thought that, you know, the scholarship and education that stuff that I had would get me out of the hood, you know, which it did.
But I wanted to get farther after that. I had higher aspirations of that. I want to get out of the country.
And the Air Force was supposed to be the most intelligent branch of the service.
I went all over. I mean, I went to Scotland, I went to Wales, I went to -- every time I had a chance to get off, I went somewhere. I traveled somewhere.
At 21, I was just finishing my nurse's training when World War II broke out.
In fact, we were on the chow line when, over the loudspeaker, it was announced that the war had started.
Being in the service made me grow up. I was a young girl, just lived home, and all of a sudden, you're thrown out with all kinds of people and places that you read about but never saw.
It was quite an experience. It's something I'm very happy I did, but I would never want to do it again.
My uncle was killed by a terrorist organization, and I knew at that point that I wanted to fight against those type of individuals.
And so I graduated from Ranger school in October 23rd of 2009, and just about six weeks later, I was in Afghanistan.