Today marks the 11th anniversary of the September 11th tragedies that the United States had to deal with. The first plane hit at 8:46AM; the second plane hit around 9:03. Because of the first plane hit and its proximity to the Stock Exchange, it didn’t start at 9AM like it usually does; when the second plane hit, everyone knew it wasn’t opening that day.

Never Forget

The American stock market was closed for 6 days, as it didn’t open back up until September 17th; it was the longest shutdown since 1933. When it opened, the market took a +680 hit in trading. It was the biggest stock market collapse in one day in history to that point, in dollars being surpassed twice in late 2008 and by percentage being surpassed three times in history, twice also in 2008 and once in 1987, the largest percentage in history at more than a 22% drop.

The week was a financial disaster. The stock market lost just under 1,400 points that week, and many businesses closed in the coming weeks. Airlines took a massive hit, many never recovering. Insurance companies took bit hits, not only from loss of shares but all the money they paid out in claims of all sorts. New York City took a big hit as well, goodness, it was in dire need of a massive clean up.

There are many people who believe the U.S. economy never recovered from that day, and they might be correct. I like to think that it changed instead. After all, the stock market did recover for a short while. Housing prices went up and people were putting their money into banks. Some people learned lessons, but unfortunately most people didn’t.

The memory of September 11, 2001 should have given us a blueprint for going forward. It should have taught us to invest wisely, spend smartly, and save judiciously. We should always honor, and continue to honor, the memory of those whose lives were taken, always the ultimate sacrifice for anyone who does something for others, especially if they didn’t ask for the job.

And we need to always remember that when things look the darkest, that’s when the best opportunities just might be available, a phoenix-like beginning to righting the wrongs and pay true homage to those who give us another shot at getting it right.

I’m hearing the bells today, and they’re making me think. I hope they make you think as well.

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