This Sunday will mark fifteen years since 9/11. Most of us remember exactly where we were and exactly what we were doing when the first plane struck. I was sitting in French class.
Today's throwback is a newsletter Nancy wrote in the fall of 2001 when fear was prevalent and the enemy was, as it remains, faceless. She writes: "Who is our enemy? Our very own fear. And that fear will only be calmed with time. We are, after all, people with short memories."
Yesterday, Jackie heard on a podcast that this is the first year that the entering class of high school freshmen were, for the most part, not yet born as of that September morning. It is a tragedy that happened before their time. And so it is through our memories that they learn about that day and how to move past that fear.
Fifteen years later, a lot has changed in the world, and many things have stayed the same. There is still uncertainty; and, yes, we still have our fears. There are, as always, still people who are motivated by hate. But there is also still hope, and we still have the opportunity each day to choose to act with courage. And there are, as always, still good people.
A couple of years ago, I visited New York with my daughter. We had a great time! We went to two Broadway shows, attended an opera, hung out in Central Park, and visited Wall Street.
I bought a book on Skyscrapers and carried it home on the plane, which was not an easy task since the book stands about 18 inches tall. I hardly noticed the World Trade Center buildings when I was there. They were tall and not very attractive... not like the Empire State Building. But they were symbols of our great financial markets. And now they are gone. I cry when I look through my book.
September 11th sent shock waves through an already struggling market. But the markets showed incredible resilience rather than the panic that was expected. Since then, we have seen steady gains. But fear is ruling the market now. Each time a new anthrax scare is announced, the ticker begins to tumble.
Fear keeps us at home. It keeps us out of the malls. What will happen next? Will we have jobs tomorrow? Will we be alive tomorrow? Fear translates to uncertainty. And it is uncertainty that hurts financial markets.
Who is our enemy? Our very own fear. And that fear will only be calmed with time. We are, after all, people with short memories.
Already, I see more people in the shopping mall. More people heading to the airport. Consumer spending is down but certainly not out. The question is how long before we return to our old ways.
My latest Fortune magazine states, "...it's a simple historical fact that the typical post-World War II U.S. recession has lasted between eight and twelve months. The natural tendency of a capitalist economy is to grow..." But, first, we must overcome our fear.
--Nancy's New Perspectives Newsletter, Volume 21, November, December 2001