September 11 And The World of 2001
If in 2001 you’d purchased $100 worth of Apple stock, today it’d be worth $10,650 give or take but more than 100 times the original investment. Apple was opening their very first retail outlets that year on both coasts in Tysons Corner, Virginia, and Glendale, California.
Before smartphones in 2001 the newer phones could display the number, but not the name of the person calling you. Flip phones were ubiquitous along with the double flips that had the earpiece that flipped up with a down flipping mouthpiece. Bag phones were still around everywhere and had functionality in the analog world of the day.
By October of 2001, Freddie Mac said 15-year fixed rate mortgages hit their lowest levels on record, while 30-year rates saw their lowest in three decades. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage floated at 6.64% from the prior year at 7.83%.
Gasoline prices in September 2001 before and after the attack, were adjusting from the last Clinton to early Bush years and ranging from $1.03 - $1.85 on average although spikes and other anomalies occurred along the way.
Speaking for all of us, $1.03 gasoline looks really nice from September 11, 2018.
Filling out the pantry in 2001 eggs were $1.40 a dozen, milk $2.85 gallon and, bread about .98 a loaf.
The world of 2001
In politics the Democrats refused to accept the newly elected and lawfully sworn in republican president as legitimate, (shocking, I know, right?) due to some faulty voting cards in a district in Florida.
All summer long we hoped Chandra Levy would be found. The young and comely intern in Washington D.C., which had been dating a married democratic congressman was missing. No one could find her, hadn't been seen since June or so.
Her family was beside themselves with worry and fear for weeks, all summer the heat and anxiety drug on. Not knowing can be a gruesome hell on earth for loved ones.
Later, police searched Congressman Gary Condit’s apartment and it was clean of any trace that a young dark curly haired woman had ever been there before, though witnesses had often seen her come and go. So clean was the apartment an investigator noted it was as though someone had bathed the room in Clorox recently before the slow-moving authorities had a look.
In May of 2002, the twenty-four-year-olds skeletal remains were found in Rock Creek Park. Condit went on to successfully lose his reelection bid in 2002.
Bit Torrent was launched about that time too, you could now share files with your friends as easily as you once loaned your pal your cassette tapes so he could get all your songs and vice versa, you his. Only now it could be done and instantly by clicking a mouse. Anonymously too, the record companies hated it.
And your computer was a big clunky one with a big CRT screen that could get branded if you didn’t use a screensaver to kick on every few minutes of idleness. I always liked the deep space one where it looked like you were flying through space past stars, it was the best, Jerry...the Best.
Into the routine and fairly low tech cheap gasoline yawning morning of Tuesday, September 11th came two planes flying at full throttle into office buildings, killing thousands of Americans before lunch could be served or breakfast digested.
A third plane crashed into The Pentagon, a fourth in a field killing all aboard, the sick plot to attack thousands of more innocent Americans, thwarted by their unknown brave fellow Americans onboard that plane. They'd heard on their flip phones from family about the earlier attacks in New York City and Washington D.C. Some passengers grouped together to form a plan.
My wife was in nursing school at McNeese, my sons at Moss Bluff Middle School. For the rest of his life, before he'd begin something, or to initiate some action my youngest son, Tanner, would quote Todd Beamer, the passenger on the fourth plane who initiated the resistance to the hijacking. After he planned with fellow passengers to storm the cockpit, Beamer initiated the group's action by saying, "Lets roll."
Let's Roll. The phrase should be as ingrained in us as General McAuliffe's answer to the surrounding Germans at Bastogne, or Travis' final written words from The Alamo.
Let's Roll. It conjures images of the same kind of cajones it took to go over the top of the trenches in WWI, or on patrol in the dark jungles of Viet Nam.
Let's Roll. It's wholly American.
For a few days, it was odd to look into the skies and not see any machine moving, all planes grounded in the US for days.
The quiet in the restaurants, the respectful way perfect strangers greeted, smiled at and helped each other out for the longest time. There was no race or politics or gay or straight or crazy or sane, American or National League or any other kind of dividing line that we've made since in those days it was all just Americans being American.
They began singing God Bless America during the 7th inning stretches at Major League baseball games when the games picked up again, and they still do. Fittingly, the New York Yankees ended up competing for the World Series that year but lost out in a thrill-packed series to the Arizona Diamondbacks, not settled until the bottom of the 9th in the seventh game near midnight in the arid southwestern desert.
For those of a certain age, the world exists in two places, before and after 9/11.
After: hundreds of thousands of our youth have come home from the desert wars with artificial limbs and mind-numbing damage to their psyches, families, and friends.
Thousands more came home under the US Flag.
For those entering high school this fall as seniors, September 11, 2001's terrorist attacks exist for them only in video, photographs and what they’ve read or heard about.