Ten years on, the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi's four-decade rule has shaped the lives of those who joined it, as have Libya's splits and frontlinesever since.
Like Usama Ali al-Aguri. He was an unemployed graduate in the eastern city of Benghazi when the uprising began there in February 2011. He soon joined.
"I thought I was fighting with the youth of the battalion against the injustice that we were told about from our fathers and grandfathers."
That summer, he got a bullet in the leg from Gaddafi's forces when he joined the assault on Tripoli. His comrade was killed, and he's now paralysed from the waist down.
Aguri, who buys and sells livestock, wanted more for Libya from those sacrifices.
"The February 17 revolution was stolen from the honorable. The honorable we speak about are dead and buried. Those leading this period are the filthy ones, who didn't even want the country."
Shell and shrapnel holes scar Libya's cities.
This is Misrata, which Malek Salem al-Mejae, then aged 20, fought to defend against attack by Gaddafi's forces.
He, too, was wounded that July, losing a leg. He says few care now whether people like him get the help they need.
"Unfortunately, there was more attention in the beginning, there was the excitement of the revolution, but then the wars happened, and nobody cared anymore about those injured in 2011."
Progress has stalled on education and the economy, he says, as well as healthcare.
"Unfortunately the situation is as you see it, after 10 years of wars. The politicians, who were entrusted with the task, were not up to the standard."
Hisham al-Windi came from a family that did well under Gaddafi - his father was a diplomat.
But he joined the fight, and was among those who stormed Gaddafi's Tripoli compound.
He was interviewed on television that day wearing an item he'd found that is known to all Libyans - Gaddafi's military hat - and he briefly became one of the faces of Libya's uprising.
Windi now works in Tunis, and is hopeful for change.
"However long the night lasts, the sun will come out in the end."