Magazine May 4, 2020, Issue

From March’s Madness to April’s Fools

A woman waves a flag during the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego, Calif., April 8, 2020. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

9/11 was my senior year of high school. It happened 20 miles in a straight line from the physics classroom where we were when the principal came over the loudspeaker, and when you went to the McDonald’s on Route 17 during sixth-period lunch, you could see the black column of smoke on the skyline where the buildings had been. Our town of 14,351 lost two men in the attack — including my lab partner’s father — and eventually three more to the wars it started.

I was not an especially brave 17-year-old, and I remember being pretty well freaked out for

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