BOCA RATON, Fla. — Inside a Boca Raton home, the impact of 9/11 bears a heavy burden and the days ahead will not come easy.
"9/11 is my generation's Pearl Harbor and I happen to be right in the thick of it," said Art Snow.
He never imagined when those towers came down 20 years ago what would happen next.
"I remember him pacing around and he told us that day 'I'm signing up for the Army,'" said Art.
Andrew Snow, his son, saw his country shaking in front of him and knew he had to fight for it. He enlisted and two weeks after graduating high school he left for infantry school at Fort Benning. It would be the start of the journey in uniform that would come with immeasurable consequences.
"He had many friends die in Iraq, he had soldiers die in his arms in Iraq," Art said.
Andrew served two tours, spending time in Ramadi, one of the most dangerous places on earth at the time. A place that still carries an agonizing memory in this home.
"This was his Purple Heart, not something you want," said Art.
Three different explosions left Andrew with a traumatic brain injury, memory issues, and severe headaches. All of which eventually led to a painful decision that still haunts him to this day.
"They medically retired him which was one of the worst things that happened to him because he lost his purpose. When he came home, we realized the real battle was beginning," Art said.
Nothing in his life would prepare this father for the reality of the next few years. PTSD and an often-overlooked diagnosis called "Moral Injury" caused Andrew to try and take his life three times. He passed away last year from medical complications.
"It's like no other pain you can have cause there is no more seeing him," said the father.
It was a battle fought hard on the front lines in combat, but the real wounds were suffered back home on American soil. All of which started one day two decades ago with a dreadful image and dedicated calling that forever changed this family.
"I didn't get a uniform; I didn't get paid but certainly all the families serve," he said.
Andrew Snow will be buried in the Arlington National Cemetery in December. Heroes to Heroes, a local charity helping veterans, will host a golf tournament in November in memory of him.
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