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Washingtonians Remember First Tastes of Independence

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Washingtonians share the first time they felt a sense of independence in their lives.
Washingtonians share the first time they felt a sense of independence in their lives.

As the country prepares to celebrate its independence, we hit the streets to ask Washingtonians two simple questions: What does independence mean to you? When was the first time in your life that you felt truly free and on your own?

Many people talked about the thrill of turning the key in the ignition and heading out to see the world. One man told us he let others do the driving: "I hitchhiked to California in 1967 at 16 years old and went to San Francisco--the summer of love. That was my first bout of independence, right out of Catholic school."

Others experienced growing pains on the path to independence. One woman recalled, "I went off to summer camp. I didn't feel very independent at that time--I felt homesick. But then, once I got over the homesickness, I felt very independent in achieving goals and learning how to be myself."

And another man's first experience feeling independent was a moment he shared with his country. Growing up in Afghanistan, he was in high school in 2001. One day, he turned on the radio, "and I heard the news: American forces with Afghan troops came in and they kicked the Taliban out of power. That was a great moment for not just only me, for my family and the whole people of Afghanistan."

An older Scottish man had a simple formula for independence: "I know I've been independent all my life because I come from Scotland, and I wear the kilt. I'm independent."

[Music: "I'm Free" by Jimmy Cliff from The Harder They Come (The Definitive Collection)]

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