Freedom This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   I had been looking forward to this moment for the last 16years: I was driving my car, by myself, to and from school. The previous day Ihad gotten my license, and this would be the first day I truly got to drive.

I drove to school thinking I was hot stuff. I began to daydream, thinkingof how I would take the long way home just to experience a few more minutes ofwhat seemed like total freedom. I soon realized, though, that the day would beremembered for reasons other than just being my first day of"freedom."

That day was September 11, 2001. That morning I sawhorrible images on TV that my mind wouldn't let me believe were real. It's amovie, I kept telling myself. I wanted to believe it wasn't real. The rest of theday was a blur and my emotions varied; I was angry this had happened, andsaddened because I felt I could do nothing.

After school, when I walkedto my car, I wasn't as excited to open the door and start the engine as I hadbeen in the morning. I started to drive, my destination still unclear. I wastrying to make sense of all this madness. New York was far away, yet it seemedtoo close. As I continued down the road, I began noticing the lines of cars inmany of the gas stations. Cars were lined up for blocks and blocks. I began tocry, maybe because I was scared, or maybe because the events had really affectedmy town. My city is almost in the exact middle of the United States, which meansthat everything gets to us last: gas prices, fashion trends, you name it. To seethat this tragedy was already affecting us made me want to go home and be with myfamily.

I couldn't wait to hug my mom and give her a kiss. I couldn'tremember if I had given her one that morning, and that terrified me. I made apromise right there that I would never again leave my house without sayinggood-bye to my family.

I will remember this day for the rest of my life.Fifty years from now, I know I will be able to tell my grandchildren where andwhat I was doing that day. On September 11, 2001 I got my "freedom"with a piece of plastic, and on the same day, I learned what freedom trulymeans.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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