Remembering 9/11 – Never Forget
20 years since the most heinous attack on American soil. Like previous generations who had their indelible moments, my generation has 9-11. I remember 20 years ago when people said where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated. My grandparents used to talk about Pearl Harbor.
On September 10, 2001 I sat at my favorite restaurant in the world, Bern’s Steakhouse, with two buddies debating whether we should make the last flight out and head home from Tampa or stay over one more night to get another round of golf in. Those who know me well know that by the end of any trip, I am always ready to go home to my own bed and my own pillow. So as my buddies hemmed and hawed, I made the decision that we were heading home.
The morning of 9-11, I had my TV on in the office when they showed the Twin Towers with smoke coming out of one. CNBC reported that a plane had flown into the building. In my small mind, I wondered where the plane was if that was really true. After all, it must have been a little Cessna that hit the building and then fell to the ground.
As trading in the pre-market futures market saw a quick and sharp decline, I thought something had to be wrong. Why would the market collapse because someone accidentally flew a little plan into a building. So I bought a handful of S&P 500 futures contracts. Minutes later, it became apparent what had really happened. Terrorist cowards flew two commercial jets into the most iconic office buildings on earth. The exchanges halted all trading. I was beyond lucky that they canceled all trades that occurred around the attack.
As word spread about the attacks, dozens of people in my office park found their way to my office as I was the only one who had a TV back in 2001. People I didn’t know just stood in front of my TV shaking their heads and crying. Trying to call my friends who worked in the city and Towers was fruitless.
I later learned that one of my fraternity brothers as well as a childhood friend since Kindergarten didn’t make it out as they were on the floors where the first plane hit. Another friend arrived at WTC for work a little after 8am, only to realize she left documents for a meeting at her apartment. She quickly hailed a cab and headed uptown shortly before 8:30am and escaped. There are dozens of stories like that. Over the years, I have met people who made it out alive, trudging down countless flights of stairs, covered in building materials and heavy dust.
My now wife and I were scheduled to be married one month later and my friends had planned two destination bachelor parties for me. Should we fly? Should we cancel? What should we do? More attacks had to be planned. But where? Those of you who know me well know how much pride I have for the country we live in and how I would never let cowards impact my life and my plans. And I didn’t. Bachelor parties in Atlantic City and Kohler, wedding in Vermont and honeymoon in Napa, Tahiti and Bora Bora right on as scheduled.
Post-9/11 I could never understand how so many schools refused to teach the kids about that horrific day. Putting your head in the sand doesn’t make it go away. Those who forget or ignore history are doomed to repeat it and that says nothing of the complete and utter idiots who deny 9/11 even existed.
I was honored and privileged to join my friend, Charles Payne, on Fox Business’ Making Money on Remembering 9/11