Remembering Sept. 11, 2001

 | Sep 09, 2011 | 8:00 PM EDT
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Sunday marks 10 years since the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As we think back to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the words from RealMoney contributors and readers on that day serve as a memorial to the immeasurable loss. Here is how TheStreet reported the news that day and a special series a year later on Sept. 11, 2002.

A note from Jim Cramer: Sometimes it's just better to let the historical record of 9/11 speak for itself. Here's the chilling Columnist Conversation for the day. Notice how jocular and breezy everything was, like from a different world, and then it just vanished with the tragedy.

There was much personal that day for this site. Every morning we got a bulletin from Bill Meehan at Cantor. Every morning. It was the most insightful commentary that set the stage for the day. Bill was silenced that day. Bill and so many others. In another sad postscript, we lost Jim Seymour not long after to an illness. He was a sensational tech writer and a terrific dad.

Many of the entries here show the vast confusion of the morning, how it was so unreal, so cataclysmic, and yet a total mystery to those of us less than 1,000 yards away from it. The CC may be one of the better contemporaneous accounts, if only to see the utter cluelessness unfold into total tragedy.


Here, in their entirety, are the actual RealMoney Columnist Conversation posts from Sept. 11-12, 2001.

Tero Kuittinen: Rant alert -- 9/11/01 4:33 a.m. EDT

Mmmm Herb made an interesting observation about the TDMA and GSM situation. Most American observers pronounced TDMA dead a couple of years ago and they are sticking to their shtick. What's fascinating here is that the global TDMA subscriber base grew by 26.4% during January-July of this year. So what we have here is a standard pronounced dead in 1999 and growing now faster than any other mobile standard during times of economic trouble.

So my response to the popular TDMA is dead canard would be: Hell? Compared to what? Of course we can ague that any standard is dead in a sense that it may not exist in ten years. So ultimately, any and every prediction is right in the long run. But in the medium term, the TDMA consensus projections have been the worst predictive mistake in this industry. At this moment, I would think that 40% annual sub growth rate is just about tolerable. I take this corpse over any number of living standards, such as Windows whose user base is a total no-growth zone compared to TDMA.

So in the future TDMA operators are switching to GSM and basic GSM components are low-margin. However -GSM/GPRS components are high-margin. RFMD got it right when it bet on TDMA. If it can switch to GSM/GPRS, high margins are doable. I'm not defending RFMD's valuation (which may well be indefensible) but the company got its strategy together when most rivals got the growth trends totally wrong.

James Cramer: Broncos v. Jints -- 9/11/01 7:53 a.m. EDT

Jack Grubman to host a dinner with Little Joey Nacchio tonight in Denver. Another possible selling opportunity for Qwest coming up.

Herb Greenberg: rfmd/nok -- 9/11/01 7:57 a.m. EDT

Tero, Nokia says it plans to keep EPS steady with lower earnings. Sounds like squeeze on suppliers like, uh, RFMD! hg

James Cramer: Helene -- 9/11/01 8:01 a.m. EDT

Helene with an excellent column about sentiment that is a must read, just fantastic.

ero Kuittinen: Strange days -- 9/11/01 8:35 a.m. EDT

LOL... you got a point there, Herb. Nokia's infra sales are nothing to write home about and the revenue miss is reality. But the key to market reaction lies with certain well-known American analysts (I ain't naming names) who kept hyping the "buy Motorola and sell Nokia" angle the past four weeks. They could have forecast a revenue miss and let good enough alone. But no -- they had to go for an outright profit miss and so overreached.

After a month of Nokia profit warning rumors, it was Motorola who warned on profits and Nokia who didn't -- the mirror image of Wall Street buzz. The world economy is undoubtedly going down and the phone upgrade cycle is still 3-5 months in the future. But this grim backdrop is not the environment to bet against sector leaders and in favor of money-losing challengers. Just the same -- this is probably the one rally not to buy. Xmas quarter outlook isn't getting any less grim and the volume shipments of new ranges in 1Q 2002 are kind of far away in the current market. I'm not sure how far the short-covering takes us... hopefully a long way.

James Cramer: PNC -- 9/11/01 8:40 a.m. EDT

PNC taking some venture capital lumps. Look for JPM to do the same again, shortly.

Todd Harrison: bomb -- 9/11/01 8:47 a.m. EDT

a bomb blast at the world trade center!

Todd Harrison: sad day -- 9/11/01 8:50 a.m. EDT

people, i was just sitting here at my desk and felt an building shook. i looked out the window and saw fire coming out of the world trade center. i am not sure of the cause....

peace and prayers to the souls involved....may peace be with you.

Todd Harrison: diary postponed -- 9/11/01 9:11 a.m. EDT

i am evacuating the area....

Jim Seymour: TSC Offices Evacuated -- 9/11/01 9:21 a.m. EDT

TSC ofices now being evacuated.

Jim Seymour: Crash Hits Second Tower -- 9/11/01 9:24 a.m. EDT

Still no details on the World Trade Towers bombing.

TV viewers watched a horrific second plane crash into the second tower a few minutes ago, as a large commercial jet crashed into it, a little lower-down than the explosions and fire on the first (North) tower.

AP reports the FBI is investigating a hijacking of a commercial airline flight in the NY area.

Jim Seymour: More From NY; Bush on TV -- 9/11/01 9:30 a.m. EDT

All elevators in both WT towers now shut down. Air traffic controllers have shut down all airports within a 25-mile radius of Manhattan. FBI says it had no warning whatsoever of any impending terrorist attacks on the towers....

NYSE has delayed its opening. Many NYC locations being evacuated (Mayor's residence, etc.)

Debris falling everhwre.

Pres. Bush now live on TV.

Jim Seymour: AA Jet From Boston Involved -- 9/11/01 9:32 a.m. EDT

American Airlines 757 out of Boston Logan reported to be one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Towers.

Jim Seymour: USAF Jets Over Manhattan -- 9/11/01 9:34 a.m. EDT

Reports that we have now scrambled USAF jets into the (closed) airspace around Manhattan, with orders to shoot down any intruding aircraft.

Please note that this report is UNCONFIRMED.

Jim Seymour: Plane Into First Tower Confirm -- 9/11/01 9:37 a.m. EDT

ABC-TV eyewitness reports saying that the first tower explosion was, indeed, from an aircraft crashing into the tower.

Jim Seymour: Claim From Palestinians... -- 9/11/01 9:41 a.m. EDT

Reuters reporting "Palestinian Democratic Front" claiming responsibility for the World Trade towers attacks from Abu Dhabi.

White House being evacuated; ABC-TV says a plan has been seen circling the skies above the White House.

Jim Seymour: Smoke Rising in DC -- 9/11/01 9:43 a.m. EDT

Huge plume of smoke rising behind the Old Executive Office Building, across the street from the White House. No other details available.

Jim Seymour: Fire at the Pentagon -- 9/11/01 9:44 a.m. EDT

Fire confirmd at the Pentagon.

Aaron Task: smoke -- 9/11/01 9:45 a.m. EDT

Jim: are you talking about this apparent bomb that went off near the Pentagon? awakening to the madness

Christopher Edmonds: Additional News -- 9/11/01 9:46 a.m. EDT

Reports now say a fire at the Pentagon which is being evacuated. And, there is a "small fire" on the mall in Washington, D.C.

Jim Seymour: Plane Crash Near Pentagon -- 9/11/01 9:50 a.m. EDT

US Capitol being evacuated, as is the US Treasury Dept. Pres. Bush now boarding AF One, reportedly for a return to the DC area.

Separately, a plane crashed near the Pentagon, perhaps -- reports vary -- in the courtyard of the Pentagon.

Christopher Edmonds: FAA -- 9/11/01 9:50 a.m. EDT

FAA has now grounded all air travel in the United States. Flights in progress have been ordered to land at the nearest airport.

Jim Seymour: All US Flights Grounded -- 9/11/01 9:51 a.m. EDT

ABC's Peter Jennings just reported that across the US, all flights controlled by the air-traffic control system are now grounded -- NOTHING taking off at any domestic airport.

Jim Seymour: Pentagon Fire Looks Bad -- 9/11/01 9:52 a.m. EDT

Extremely-serious looking fire at the Pentagon, appears larger than just a plane crash in the courtyard.

James Cramer: We know so little -- 9/11/01 9:54 a.m. EDT

We know so little. Our offices are across the street of the exchange. Our building has been locked down. We like everyone near the exchange fear that it will be targeted but we dont know where to go, so some of us are just staying put and praying for the families that are involved in this horrible criminal disaster.

Jim Seymour: This Day Will Live in Infamy -- 9/11/01 9:59 a.m. EDT

Two personal notes:

First, I think everyone who saw that horrific piece of tape, when the second plane crashed into the second WT tower, will forever remember that picture. It is literally unforgettable.

And second, I believe that as we look back today, this day will be seen as the moment when everything changed, forever, for this country. Our free movement through the air-travel system, our level of security defenses in major cities...all will change, substantially and forever.

God save those people involved in all these incidents this morning...and us all.

Jim Seymour: World Trade Tower Exploding -- 9/11/01 9:59 a.m. EDT

Immense explosion, apparent collapse at World Trade tower.

Christopher Edmonds: New explosion -- 9/11/01 10:00 a.m. EDT

A third explosion in the area of the World Trade Center. . .

Jim Seymour: South Tower Collapses -- 9/11/01 10:01 a.m. EDT

Whole building at World Trade Tower site has now collapsed, South Tower.

Jim Seymour: Lower Manhattan Engulfed -- 9/11/01 10:02 a.m. EDT

Debris, smoke from WT tower collapse now spreading across all lower Manhattan. Panic in the streets.

Fearful loss of life in the wake of this collapse. Fire, of course, will likely spread from the falling material.

Jim Seymour: Pentagon Getting More Serious -- 9/11/01 10:07 a.m. EDT

Pentagon fire looking worse and worse. Eyewitness says a commuter flight crashed into the Pentagon.

Lissa Morgenthaler: God bless all our loved ones -- 9/11/01 10:18 a.m. EDT

Dear ones, all you who are in harm's way, our thoughts enfold you. We await word of your well-being....

Helene Meisler: Inappropriate headline -- 9/11/01 10:25 a.m. EDT

As I sit here watching this disaster in America, I would like to apologize for what now seems like an incredibly poor choice of titles for today's column. Here's hoping everyone gets home safe and sound.

Herb Greenberg: helene -- 9/11/01 10:34 a.m. EDT

No apology necessary. This puts all, regarding life, into perspective. My prayers to all. hg

James Cramer: Sky gray -- 9/11/01 10:49 a.m. EDT

Sky is gray, still unwilling to go outside because of acrid smoke. Across from the Stock Exchange. Our building was jostled by the explosions. We can now see the street now, though. We just dont know what to do.

James Cramer: Surreal -- 9/11/01 10:54 a.m. EDT

We are confused and worried, worried that that hundreds have lost their lives, worried that it is not over and that we are not safe at work.

Lissa Morgenthaler: TheStreet -- 9/11/01 11:02 a.m. EDT

Jim, some of us are thanking God you and the rest of the team are all right. Praying for Bill Meehan...

James Cramer: Still here -- 9/11/01 11:18 a.m. EDT

We are still in the building but will most likely make a break to walk up town when the smoke clears a bit. Still seems too acrid out there.

Charlotte-Anne Lucas: Evacuated -- 9/11/01 11:31 a.m. EDT

TSC offices have been evacuated along with much of lower Manhatten. Our reporters, columnists and editors based in other cities will be keeping you posted during the day. Most of all, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrible tragedy. long prayers

James Cramer: Still here -- 9/11/01 11:36 a.m. EDT

Much of the senior staff is still at rather than take our chances on the street.

James Cramer: Many people headed uptown -- 9/11/01 11:51 a.m. EDT

People headed uptown but we still think that it s too dangerous to make a break for it. Better to stay here where we have communications and news.

James Cramer: People leaving -- 9/11/01 12:19 p.m. EDT

People are leaving now, as the streets are clearing. I am staying put for now as harder to get to New Jersey because of tunnels and bridges closed.

Herb Greenberg: From the front -- 9/11/01 3:13 p.m. EDT

It's time to let readers speak about what they saw. I really believe this is an important part of dealing with the reality of it...and then the healing process. It was a lot different at Ground Zero for reader John McGonegal, than for those of us watching on TV. He writes:

"the scence was nightmareish. i work at 26 broadway i was out side going to get a coffee when the 2nd plane hit the tower. a noise like i never heard and hope to never hear again...but shortly thereafter a worse roar, the tower collapsing. then all hell broke loose...people thundering down broadway, everyone trying to get to the water it seemed. people on the sidwalk unable to breathe and some in obvious cardiac distress. thank god i made my way thru the choking dust and smoke to the ny watrerway ferry..... by the seaport........they took not tickets or money..... just told us all to get the hell on the boat, they said they would go to nj just did not no where.....people on the boat lived on l.i. or in mahattaan ...they just wanterd off the island.......a few guys who were waitng said they were thinking of swimming to s.i. if they did not get on the boat...TERROR..... we landed in jersye city... I walked completely numb to in my car and drove home...thanks to the kind souls who let me use theier cell phones to tell my wife and son i was ok... I left mine in the kitchen this a.m..i dialed at least 30 times before i got thru....a horriffic day...i guess we now know the terror and pain alot of the rest of the world lives with........"

Indeed we do, John, thanks. hg

Lissa Morgenthaler: readers speak -- 9/11/01 4:00 p.m. EDT

Amen, Herb, and thank you. My email is out of whack or I would join you in sharing readers' thoughts.

Jim Seymour: World Markets Falling; Oil Up -- 9/11/01 4:12 p.m. EDT

World markets are in disarray, predictably, after the World Trade Center collapse this morning.

In Europe, France's CAC is down 7.4%, Britain's FTSE is down 5.7%, and Dow's Stoxx 50 is down 6.1%.

In Latin America, the Bovespa is down 9.2%. US stocks trading prominently in Europe are down across the board, including Microsoft down $5.43, GE down $2.81, IBM down $6.85.

By contrast, oil stocks are up -- BP, Royal Dutch and Exxon among them -- and crude prices are soaring.

Japan's Nikkei probably plummets tonight.

Great concern about domestic exchange prices, of course, when trading here resumes.

Cody Willard: thank you -- 9/11/01 4:22 p.m. EDT

I too was downtown and witness to this terrible tragedy. I wanted say thank you to all of the well-wishers, and I'll be back in touch soon. My thoughts and best wishes to all involved.

Jim Seymour: RM/TSC Readers: Thank You -- 9/11/01 4:40 p.m. EDT

I am absolutely floored by the outpouring of love, concern, sympathy and support from TSC/RM readers. Know that speaking for all of us, we are touched and heartened in this black moment by your words, thought and prayers.

Christopher Edmonds: Attacks on Afghanistan -- 9/11/01 6:10 p.m. EDT

Attacks on Kabul, Afghanistan appear to be underway. There is no comment yet from any nation regarding the attacks and there are few details. However, anti-aircraft fire has been seen and a large explosion -- possibly at a fuel facility -- has been reported.

Christopher Edmonds: Afghanistan -- 9/11/01 6:14 p.m. EDT

NBC reporting sources indicate the explosions in Kabul are not U.S. sponsored.

CNN reporting the missiles may be the result of civil infighting in Afghanistan.

Helene Meisler: asian markets -- 9/11/01 7:12 p.m. EDT

cnbc asia is reporting that all markets here will open today except malaysia and taiwan. japan is talking about a shortened session. will keep you posted if i hear more. unfortunately i will not be home when the markets here open (8 p.m. NYC time), but will keep you posted through out the day as to reactions here.

Helene Meisler: closed -- 9/11/01 7:13 p.m. EDT

trading in euros as well as US globex futures markets will be closed in asia today.

Helene Meisler: korean market -- 9/11/01 7:49 p.m. EDT

now reporting they will dealy opening by 3 hours. so it seems world markets are hesitant to open at this point in time.

Helene Meisler: asian markets -- 9/11/01 7:54 p.m. EDT

tokyo will now delay their opening by 30 minutes. when they do open they will have reduced limits for stock trading on the downside, as they try to limit the panic. they're talking about 3% limits on the downside.

Christopher Edmonds: Asia -- 9/11/01 8:02 p.m. EDT

Tokyo opening delayed by 30 minutes -- now scheduled for 8:30pm EDT. New Zeland market opened down 5.6%. Other markets poised to open lower. Complete update coming on

James Cramer: Prayers -- 9/11/01 8:15 p.m. EDT

Many people from my town of Summit unaccounted for still. Just came back from a prayer service. Have nothing to add other than my heart goes out to all families who lost someone today.

Tero Kuittinen: My condolences -- 9/12/01 6:31 a.m. EDT

The full dimensions of yesterday's tragedy are now slowly sinking in. The scheduled programming here in Europe was mostly cancelled and the television stations have been following the events in America. Foreigners probably can't really comprehend the full impact from these events involving quintessentially American institutions; but we can sympathize with the human toll of the massacre. Our thoughts are with people of New York and Washington.

I'm going to fly to New York next week unless the conference I'm attending is cancelled. I hope people take a deep breath and think twice before starting to cancel hotel bookings and airline reservations en masse. We all should have a silent moment for the victims and their families -- but panic would be a reward for terrorism. The attacks involved commercial airline hijackings and security procedures have been improved. I hope people will not overreact and thus add to the huge economic challenges New York will be facing in coming months.

Lissa Morgenthaler: counting good and bad -- 9/12/01 10:37 a.m. EDT

By rights, I and one of my team should have been on a plane to NYC yesterday for the Bear Stearns health care conference (now postponed). Despite the tears as we await word on friends and associates, I am yet so filled with gratitude........ that Jim and Todd and Marty and all the TSC team are alive.... that New York, where I have family, did not suffer biological or nuclear attack.... that the 4 hijacked jets, like so many planes I've been on recently, didn't carry full passenger loads.... that we live in this remarkable heart of freedom called America, where people risk their lives to save others through smoke and fire and shifting rubble...

Thank you to all those who are making a difference right now. Blessings on you now and in the days to come......

Lissa Morgenthaler: counting -- 9/12/01 11:52 a.m. EDT

May I pay tribute to Lisa Raines of Genzyme Corporation, who was on American Airlines flight 77 yesterday. One of thousands who were killed in the course of the day, you may never have heard her name.... but she helped improve your life and the lives of those you love.

She did this through her enormous impact on the modernization of the FDA. Because of reforms Lisa helped to shape, the FDA became a far more effective regulatory body. Average approval times for new drugs dropped to 12 months and the FDA became less of a minefield for companies trying to navigate it.

Many, many people worked to enact those reforms but Lisa did a huge share of the labor. She succeeded in part because she inspired such trust. Lisa was funny and wise and full of good sense, but most of all, you could trust her. If she said it was so, it was so. That's why she grew to a position of such influence and that's why she wielded such power.

Lisa taught me a lot in a very short time. I grieve for her family, her friends, and the whole Genzyme clan. They know what we've lost. She was a strong force for good in an imperfect world and that's the highest tribute I can pay.

TSC Staff: Bill Meehan -- 9/12/01 12:39 p.m. EDT

I wanted to respond to the incredible amount of phone calls and email I am getting regarding Bill s well being. I have been in touch with his family and we are all still praying and hoping for a miracle. When I hear of something, I will let you know.

James Cramer: Thanks Tony -- 9/12/01 1:09 p.m. EDT

Thanks Tony, I didn't want to bother his family. I like Bill so much, he's the first professional who wanted to help us at, the first one who reached out to me and said what could he do for us because he liked us so much. He is our friend.

Lissa Morgenthaler: bravery -- 9/12/01 1:38 p.m. EDT

CNN is talking about United flight 93, how it appears there was a struggle to keep that plane from hitting a populated area.

I never met Thomas Burnett, chief operating officer of Thoratec, but it sounds like he was a hero on that flight. Apparently he called his wife from flight 93 and said, "I know we're going to die. Three of us are going to do something about it."

Of the 4 hijacked flights yesterday, only flight #93 didn't strike a target.

Aaron Task: update -- 9/12/01 3:21 p.m. EDT

CNBC's Rick Santelli reporting CBOT and CME will reopen tomorrow at their regular times. All futures markets will trade with the exception of equities.

Aaron Task: press conference -- 9/12/01 4:43 p.m. EDT

Peter Fisher from Treasury Dept. reporting NY firms say they'll be ready to trade Treasury Bonds tomorrow.

NYSE chairman Richard Grasso says: We are committed that the equity markets will resume operations no later than Monday. Perhaps as early as Friday.

Aaron Task: press conference -- 9/12/01 4:45 p.m. EDT

Again, no trading tomorrow. Possible some trading Friday, but Grasso said he expressed hope for trading as early as Monday.

Grasso stressed: "We are still in the recovery phase. We have got to be very careful that nothing we do from financial/market standpoint in any way interrupts" rescue efforts.

He expressed commitment to restoring equity markets as quickly as possible. "Our primary goal is obviously to bring about restoration of equity trading that is keeping with liqudity, deep market, public protection. Our firms are committed to doing that."

Beyond operational readiness of individual firms, the exchanges along with govt. officials examined issues of communication, power, safety and soundness of structures in lower Manhattan and access to them, Grasso said.

Aaron Task: correction -- 9/12/01 4:46 p.m. EDT

correction: No equity trading tomorrow. Peter Fisher said NY firms will be ready to trade Treasuries tomorrow beginning at 8 a.m.

Lissa Morgenthaler: Ralph Bloch -- 9/12/01 6:54 p.m. EDT

I am a little comforted by Ralph Bloch on CNBC just now --- an unflappable and sagacious fellow in the time I've watched him. He says the market was deeply oversold going into this catastrophe, as oversold as it was last March. And he seemed to think the market was likely to rally going forward.

Hope Ralph is right. I would love for the terrorists to be denied any further satisfaction from the disaster and misery they've wrought.

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