The military attracts people from all different backgrounds. But it’s not an epiphany-like calling for everyone. Some join as a way to escape their hometown, pay for college, or honor the previous sacrifice of their parents and grandparents. The reasons ultimately run the gamut from dropping out of school, to witnessing what happened on 9/11, to losing a bet while gambling.

For Veterans Day, we wanted to know the moment you decided to join the military, whether it was on a random whim or a lifelong dream. These 10 were our favorites.