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I was sitting in my new apartment on a Tuesday morning, waiting for my couch to be delivered. I had no phone or cable connection (yet). After all, I’d just finished moving everything in on Saturday. My dad and I sat that afternoon resting on boxes drinking water and Coke before dropping the dying moving van off at U-Haul. We weren’t sure the fool thing would make the trip from Haverhill to Fall River, but it did.

So back to Tuesday. I stayed at my girlfriend’s place the night before. We talked about furniture shopping that day (hence the couch) and fooled around a bit. We worked in the same office so I asked her to tell our boss I would be late when she left that morning.

All I thought of that morning was how the movers and I were going to get that fucking couch through the narrow maze-like twists of the apartment building, which like many buildings in Fall River was a converted mill.

I was committed. I was fixated. I’d never bought an actual couch before.

Maybe if the feet were removable we could slide the couch down the carpeted main corridor, stand it on end and wiggle it past the worst of the twists. Then squeeze through the apartment door, sli-i-i-de it down the equally weird and narrow main hallway in the apartment, then we were home free.

While this was happening, while I obsessed over how that damned couch was getting into my apartment, American Airlines Flight 11 flew out of an impossibly clear morning sky and slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. The defining moment of the new century was exploding horrifically into being, and I had a couch coming.

Lacking a working TV and phone, I had no idea what was happening. I turned on Howard Stern while making the 40 minute commute into work and heard him talk about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. No one mentioned it was a jet–let alone a 767 fresh out of Logan with a belly-full of jet fuel. So I thought it was a small plane that punched into the tower and left a hole.

That sky was so clear! Ten years later, I can still picture driving up 495 and noting the clear clear blue. I had a new-ish car, a new apartment, and another day of work ahead. The roads were empty, but that wasn’t remarkable. I was within the window of time when traffic hit a lull all the way up route 44 to 495 to 95 to route 1.

I got to work and everyone was piled in the conference room around the TV. Nothing but smoke all over the Manhattan skyline. By the time I’d gotten there it was all over. Well thank goodness for instant replay huh?

A Boeing 767 is a rather large plane. Each of the twin towers dwarfed the planes which destroyed them. The damage was sufficient to eventually bring both towers down. Now I know over the years there’s been a lot made of possible conspiracies regarding the events of September 11, 2001. The Twin Towers were a unique design, and a perfect storm of circumstances owing to the amount of fuel on-board, the height at which they hit and that unique design caused them to drop as they did when they did. The Pentagon is all reinforced concrete. Like Pearl Harbor, like JFK, there are enough holes both real and perceived to hang a conspiracy tale however tenuous.

I do not believe any of it. Nevertheless, the real impact of September 11th is that America is not the safe hermetically sealed place we thought it was the day before. My dad hit the nail on the head that day when he said that this was payback for all the bullshit we’ve been involved with since the end of World War II. Including our support of Israel. I have never been a supporter of Israel myself, mainly because of the terrorist tactics of Menachem Begin and Moshe Dayan and the others who fought to create that state. I still feel that way, but I understand why they did what they did. Our support of that state, right or wrong, was one of the stated reasons for Al Qaeda’s war against us. And it was proven true by the last ten years of unremitting and unfocused aggression by our military and the CIA. That asshole man-child George W. Bush went from clown-in-chief to cowboy-in-chief and wrapped us all in god and glory at the expense of so many American kids and Iraqi innocents.

Which of course leads me, finally, to the real thing we saw that day. A bunch of religious zealots supported by a regime we prop up with our oil addiction killed themselves and three thousand innocent people for their fucking religion. That’s what motivated those fruitcakes that morning. It served as a wakeup call about what religion does, and our reaction to it also shows what religion does. Poison. All of it.

I miss that blue sky. I miss that innocent morning and that lovely little apartment I could not afford and the world I lived in the day before. This is a colder, darker place. Our innocence is gone, America is not the good country we were all taught it was, the religions we cling to are killing us as quickly as our rampant use of oil is killing our environment. We can never go back, and we may not survive. Nor may we want to survive in the world those Saudi assholes and that Texas buffoon gave us that day.

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