Marine, Travis L. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

It's funny how your life canchange in a heartbeat. One minute you're laughing and hanging out with yourfamily and friends, and the next you find yourself in a position everyonedreads.

My brother Travis was my best friend; he was my hero. He loved hisfamily and was a huge football and wrestling fan. When he graduated from highschool, he decided to join the United States Marines. The idea that "Youractions in life echo in eternity" was what helped him decide to join. I washappy for him, but knew I wouldn't be able to see him as much.

After bootcamp he was stationed at Twentynine Palms, California. We were excited because hewas only eight hours from home, and visited as much as he could for a year. Afterthe terrorist attacks, he was really shaken. He knew his life could changeforever.

The last time he came home to visit he had a reallydifficult time leaving, hugging each of us with tears in his eyes. We didn'tunderstand why he was having such a hard time; he was supposed to return a weeklater for my birthday. The last thing I said to him was, "I love ya, Travy,drive safe."

Two days later Travy and his Marine friend Ryan wereheading to St. George, Utah to hang out with my brother Weston. Travis called andsaid they would meet him in 10 minutes. The 10 minutes went by, then 30, andthere was still no sign of them. Weston called his cell phone, but no oneanswered. He got worried and went to look for them. On the freeway, he saw policelights. When he got closer he saw two cars had collided. The driver of athree-quarter ton truck had been driving drunk for three miles in the wrongdirection on the interstate before hitting my brother and his friend head-on intheir small car.

The drunk driver had a broken back, and Travis and Ryanwere killed instantly. When we got Travis's stuff back from the base, we found aletter he had written to us after the terrorist attack:

Dear Family andFriends,

If you are reading this letter I am gone. This has been thehardest letter I have had to write. Trying to find the words to comfort you.Writing this letter has been very hard for me because I have had to accept thefact that I won't be with you anymore. It has been a long journey for me toaccept this. It started in Boot Camp when I saw clips of the D-Day invasion from"Saving Private Ryan." It came full circle for me this past week afterthe terrorist attack in New York.

I am proud to be serving my country inits time of need. I can't think of a better cause to give my life for than this.I was meant to be here, I am sure of that. I don't think anyone needs to be toldhow much of a threat these people are to our way of life, even more so thanHitler. In one attack they made a bigger impact on our country than all of WWII.If I hadn't been in the Marines before September 11th, I would be now.

Thepast 13 months have been the hardest of my life, but have made me a betterperson. They've forced me to grow up and taught me I couldn't make it throughlife alone. Slowly but surely, and with a lot of backwards steps, I have gained atestimony and fixed the faults I had. I am still learning. It took me 20 years toget it together and start doing what is right. But I have never been more atpeace with myself than now.

I will never forget Travis; he helped me inways he never knew. We will never forget all our memories - going to Lake Powell,wrestling, driving in his Jeep, family trips. And the other driver will never beable to forget what he has done to two of America's Marines. Love ya, Travy.

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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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 10:24 am
i love this so much!
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