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My wife and I invited five guests and their dogs to watch the tragedy on the 6.30pm evening news. The dogs were kept outside, as were the smokers. I stood behind my house with the food editor and the distinguished journalist. We peered through the windows into my living room.

“We’re nicotine negroes,” the distinguished journalist told me. “Not a bad line,” he said. “You can use it in one of your novels.”

The footage of the airplanes hitting the towers was extraordinary. More so than the much-touted battle scenes from Pearl Harbor. Did any of you Brits…

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