Monday marks the 16th anniversary of September 11, 2001, the date of the deadliest attacks on US soil since Pearl Harbour.
To remember the day and honour its heroes, legendary New York Stock Exchange floor trader and director of floor operations for UBS Art Cashin republished his original comments from September 24, 2001, when markets re-opened in New York.
His writings captured the mood in the city at the time. We included an excerpt below:
“Monday, September 24, 2001.
On this day, in September of the fateful year 2001, America — and the world — continued to try to find some way to return to normal. There have been no comments since the atrocity on 9/11. All of our family and staff are safe, thank God. But my office was put out of commission. (It was across a small open park from one of the towers.) We hope to get back into it this week and — maybe — begin regular comments next week. […]
A More Personal Thought — Many of us got out that Tuesday walking through streets onto which ash, smoke and business envelopes fell snow-like, blocking both your view and your breathing. Yet when a stranger was met, they were invited to join the convoy and offered a spare wet cloth (carried in pockets) through which to breath as they walked. When we reached the East River (Brooklyn side of Manhattan), there was a volunteer group of tugboats, fishing boats and mini-ferries that looked like the evacuation of Dunkirk. No charge. No money. Just — ‘May I help you!’ No one got anyone’s name. No thank you cards will be sent. But Americans — even New York Americans — who freely give to strangers but argue with neighbours were suddenly one group.
In the days since, as we wander via new strange ways back to Wall Street, we all internalize the survivor’s quandary. We are lucky to be alive — but why us. As I noted on TV — none of us headed back to re-open the markets with relish or avarice. The President, the Governor, the Mayor and all officials asked that the markets re-open to provide a means for the economy to work — to unclog an artery. Day after day, traders, clerks and the thousands of folks who support them walked to work. No spring in their step. Resolute to do their job, they are civil but somber. As they pass checkpoints, they say ‘thank you’ to the policemen, firemen, and National Guardsmen who may have lost brothers saving us and some of our friends.
Ironically, the only smiles you see in Wall Street are on the photocopied photos of the missing that family and friends have taped to walls, mailboxes and lampposts. It may take a long time for smiles to naturally return to Wall Street. It may take a long while to find those criminals who took our smiles and our friends. But, we will have patience.”