It's been 17 years and today's a day that will live in solemnity. That's how I always feel when we try to commemorate what happened in the towers, at the Pentagon and on the ground in Shanksville, PA.
Nothing changes that, least of all the market, which is putting on another decent show today.
Two years ago we did a special about the rebirth of commerce around the site that commemorated the tragedy in downtown New York, and while it was not joyous it did show the strength of the American spirit. We just wouldn't let them, them being our enemies everywhere, stop us from rebuilding. It doesn't take away the events that happened. In the interim, though, I fear a whole generation, anyone from, say 22 right on down to newborns won't know the visceral, grim murders that occurred that day. I take solace that a museum has been built to remember that day and I wish there were a national day of remembrance that would teach a class in what happened using the materials from that remarkable museum that all most attend. Older people, you need to remember. Younger people, you must learn.
There's a different anniversary today, too, the anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and this time CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin has put together a documentary about those dark days. I do not conflate the darkness with the physical darkness of 9/11 as those of us nearby escaped in what felt like a night full of sleet on that terrible day, sleet that turned out to be remnants of only God knows what.
The Lehman anniversary marks a time when the country itself was under financial siege, where the worries were like those of 1933, with the collapse of giant banks through greed and foolishness as the authorities at first stood by and let it all happen as a way to punish the footloose and the feckless. The government was as unprepared as the bankers that day, needlessly deepening the downturn.
The irony of the terrorist attack on the towers and the collapse of Lehman 10 years ago must not be lost on people. It's the reverse of what happened to our country between the Great Depression and then the attack on Pearl Harbor. You could argue we learned nothing from the antecedent events, or what happened in current history would not have occurred. I would like to say that being unprepared for a crisis may just turn out to be the American way, something that contrasts with our indomitable spirit and our innate sense of optimism. Nevertheless I would argue we are much better prepared for both the terror and the financial attacks that we had. I just don't know if that's the next kind of calamity that might face us next.