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United We Stand, But Divided Into 2 Equal Teams Would Have Been Better

Santa Barbara, Cal. ( — Answering the call from government and civic leaders, Americans all pulled together yesterday in an unprecedented show of patriotism and unity that left 44,000 people dead and 3.3 million injured.

The injuries resulted from a lack of an equal number of people pulling from the other side, causing all 285 million Americans to immediately fall backwards on top of each other.

Unity, right to left

   The direction in which everyone
   pulled together.

"I was excited that we were finally pulling together as a nation, but I pretty much assumed there was going to be some kind of counterweight," said 34-year-old Angela Szweicki, whose left leg was broken when the man in front of her fell on it. "But there was nothing. We met no resistance at all."

"On the count of three, boom, we all went down like a ton of dominoes," she added.

For hours afterward, ambulances raced up and down a line of bruised, supine humanity that stretched from Asbury Park, N.J., to Santa Barbara. Authorities said the majority of injuries were minor, while most of the fatalities occurred among those stationed on the immediate eastern edge of the Mississippi River, the Grand Canyon, and Interstate 5 outside Los Angeles.

"We should never have come here from Mexico! In Mexico we never pulled together!" wailed 53-year-old Micaela Ortiz, whose husband Alberto, as the last man in line, fell into the Pacific Ocean and drowned.

Other survivors, meanwhile, said they will never forget those horrifyingly indivisible moments of tragic congruity. "I was standing on the western lip of the (Grand) Canyon, and just before we pulled, it occurred to me that if we started winning, maybe those people across from me weren't in such a good spot," said Craig Stillman, 28, of Flagstaff, Ariz. "I tried to get everyone to stop, but man, once 285 million people make up their minds to do something, you can forget about it."

Amid the muffled cries of pain and anguish, however, there were other voices; voices of triumph, voices of purpose, voices that, for many, epitomized the immutable sense of unabashed Americaness that has, of late, been under siege from sea to troubled sea:

"We kicked major butt!" exulted 22-year-old University of Michigan senior Jason Airholdt, bleeding slightly from a cut lip. "We are still numero one! Number uno! Boo-ya!"


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