Thoughts about America in October 2020, my 90th year

Looking back, I see three national convulsions that have changed the world I’ve lived in: the Wall Street crash of 1929; Pearl Harbor; and the fiery destruction of the trade towers on 9/11.
And now a fourth: the Covid-19 epidemic.
The Great Depression shaped my early years without my being aware of it. My middle-class family weathered the1930s with back-up from a wealthy grandmother. The ‘40s brought the Second World War, a father sent to fight the Japanese in the Pacific, a mother managing the home-front, and me as a New York City teenager awash in the excitement of a world on fire—from a safe distance.
The decades that followed the Great Depression show on my reflective retina as a busy blur of education, military service, marriage, child-rearing, jobs, and significantly, in the 1980s, a move from New York City to Block Island.
There, in 2001, on a peaceful Tuesday morning in September, I noticed the contrails of several airplanes headed southwest toward Kennedy Airport suddenly make right angle turns. Later on TV, I would see why. Two planes had purposely crashed into the World Trade Center towers, scattering thousands of bodies and destroying in an instant two

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