Where Were You?

| September 11, 2012 | 0 Comments

9/11 MemorialToday, instead of writing about the stock market, or penny stocks, or the Fed, or gold prices – I wanted to take a moment to remember everyone that lost their lives down in NYC due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

My only way to honor their memories is to recount where I was when they lost their lives… and share my story with you.

I truly debated if I would publish this article or not.

Half of me was thinking… “Don’t be so self centered, it’s disrespectful to those that died that day.”  But the other half said, “Everyone has a story of how they experienced the worst day in Modern American history… a bunch of people probably will be able to relate to you. “

So that’s why I decided I’d share where I was on 9/11, and I certainly bet you know where you were when it all happened.

Before I get into the details, I want you to know that I didn’t personally know anyone that lost their lives in World Trade Center Tower 1 or Tower 2, at the Pentagon, on American Airlines flight 11, on American Airlines flight 77, on United Airlines flight 175, nor on United Airlines flight 93. 

I didn’t personally know anyone that died serving as fire fighters, police, EMTs, or any other first responders.

Nor did I personally know anyone that died serving in the rescue and recovery missions that ensued week, after week, after week… digging through the rubble, bent steel, smoke, pollution, and ashes that filled the New York City air.

At the time, I was living in Southwest Connecticut… just an hour drive from the upper west side of town (of course depending on traffic).  Basically, I was in a suburb of NYC.   Thankfully at the time I was taking a break from trading, and not working in the city.

On 9/11/01, at 8:30 that morning, I had just jumped in the car and was on the way to see a client.  My car radio was set to Bloomberg 1130 AM Radio, and I remember listening to the latest market update as I drove toward I-95.

As soon as I pulled on the highway, I recall the breaking news flash there was an incident involving a plane hitting the World Trade Center North Tower.  They were reporting it as an accident, or incident – but as you know, that all changed as information kept coming in.

As soon as I heard the news, I called my wife…

She was working further south down I-95, and a good 20 miles closer to NYC.  I know I got her voicemail and left her an excited message to call me back.

Even though an attack wasn’t announced at this point, I started to get nervous… and I didn’t know why.  I just knew my wife was within blast radius of any number of bombs, if that’s what was going on.

In addition, she was just a couple of miles from some other major financial offices located in Stamford, CT.  Who knows why these attacks where happening, and how many strikes could be planned… this was too damn close!

In fact, I remember clear as day turning my car around and going home to watch the news.  I didn’t call my client to cancel (which is completely unlike me).  I just had to see what the hell was going on for myself.

Of course, I kept redialing my wife…

By the time I got home, I tuned into CNN to see that God-awful sight of the first tower billowing black smoke from its upper floors.  Anyone watching the news can remember being simply glued to the television set at this point.

But what blew everyone’s mind that was watching – was the live recording of the second tower being hit as the clock ticked to exactly 9:03 AM.

Now I’m not trying to recount the events moment for moment.  There’s plenty of that you can find all over the Internet.  But I do remember literally jumping off the sofa shocked just seconds after the second tower was hit.

After seeing this happen, I absolutely freaked out when I hadn’t heard from my wife. 

I called her office and cell phone non-stop until I got her.  After finally reaching her and learning she was ok, we watched the news in horror while we sat on the phone.  She was with her co-workers and they all were in their office huddled around a TV set in a conference room (that’s why I couldn’t get her on the phone).

No one could believe what was happening.

Earlier I told you I didn’t know anyone personally who died that day, or in the following days.  But I do personally know guys that were in the surrounding buildings when the attacks happened.

One of my friends knows a guy who was in Tower 1 when it was hit and basically self-evacuated immediately.

They all have much more intense stories about 9/11/01 than I do. 

Heck, I even have a cousin who is a CT State Trooper that went down to Ground Zero with his dog to assist with the rescue efforts shortly after the initial attacks.  His stories are the ones most people don’t want to hear.

Even though it was being called a “national terrorist attack on the US”, I felt much more affected than other Americans– even though I didn’t live in NYC.  I lived in a “suburb” of NYC, and that was close enough to count.

Once again, like most of you reading this, I thankfully wasn’t personally affected with the loss of a very close person in my life.

Some of you may be wondering, since I was living so close to NYC, I must have gone down at some point to see the destruction.  The truth is, I didn’t go down to the city for more than a year.

Not only was I emotionally charged by the events themselves, I didn’t want any part of peeping at people’s misery.

At any moment I could have driven down or hopped on a Metro-North train to just walk around and see the carnage.  But I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

You see, I have this image emblazoned in my mind that will remain with me forever.  It was my personal “I was there, and I saw it with my own two eyes” moment.

Even though I witnessed it from miles and miles away – I knew exactly what was going on.  And it still brings tears to my eyes as I write.

I saw the New York City skyline just four days after it was changed forever. 

Located roughly 55-60 miles due west up the Hudson River from Manhattan is the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge (which needless to say, crosses the Hudson River).   While driving over the center portion of the bridge, on a clear day you’re afforded a beautiful view of the NYC skyline.

During the weekend following 9/11, the wife and I left for her family’s annual Jersey Shore vacation (no not the TV show).

Normally, we would head straight down through NYC and get on the Garden State Parkway.  But this year we had to take a trip into Scranton, PA to help pickup one of her family members coming on vacation with us.

So we drove down I-84 crossing over the bridge.

The image I saw on September 15th that year, which I will never forget, was the NYC skyline without the World Trade Center Towers. 

In their place was this mass of billowing smoke.  I remember having my wife almost stop the car as we stared at the nightmare we saw down the river.  I remember for the next 30 minutes or more, while driving in the car, blurting out –“but, it was just there… but, it was just there… but, but… how could this be?  But, but, but…”

The unimaginable had happened.  How could anyone alter the NYC skyline?  How could the Twin Towers, that defined one of the most recognizable skylines in the world – be changed?

Needless to say, imagery can evoke very high levels of emotion.  Think of photographs of people suffering, or photos of war, or injured animals.   Well… this wasn’t a photo.

And it was an image I had seen for most of my life, the NYC skyline.

I just couldn’t imagine how the lives of people at Ground Zero were changed, even if they’re alive and well today.  When I watch video or read accounts from people who were there – I just cringe.

My heart goes out to them…

So, where were you on 9/11?  Consider sharing your story with someone today as a way to honor the victims and heroes that lost their lives that day.

Until next time,

Brian Walker

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About the Author ()

Brian joins the Penny Stock Research team as a seasoned independent trader and financial analyst. Brian graduated with a B.S. from the University of North Florida and now resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. With a background in economics and statistics, he has a keen ability to uncover profitable and growth-focused companies. He has years of real life know-how in analyzing fundamental and technical data that gives him an edge drilling down on companies and financial results. With over 15 years trading experience, Brian has become an expert in the ever-changing equities markets. Today, he scours the markets hunting for penny stocks that offer low risk and high reward.