Posted September 12, 2021
By Sean Ring
Good morning on this fine Monday!
I hope you had a great weekend.
Before you drink that first cup of joe, let me assure you that I dont want to spoil anyones day. Since Ive been out of America since 1999 and was in London on 9/11, Ive got very different views than those who watched the Towers burn live.
I understand there will be a difference in viewpoints, and I will proceed as gently as possible.
Across the Pond, On the Desk, Mouth Agape
It was a rather ordinary Tuesday in Canary Wharf. I remember not being hungover, as that in itself was an event for me back in those days.
Since LBS ran Monday night classes for my Masters degree, I always headed to the Windsor Castle pub with Trav and the boys after class for a few before the Tube shut down for the night.
In those days, I was a heady 26-year-old whose ambition far outweighed his knowledge or skills, working as front office support before I got my shot on the trading desk.
It was a slow day, as I remember, until the first plane hit.
If you work on a trading floor, you can feel the news. When 1,100 people react simultaneously to an event, it electrifies the ether.
I looked up, and honestly, I didnt think it was that bad.
The perfectly horizontal gash in the building shouldve told me otherwise.
As the tower smoldered, I recall thinking, How the hell can anyone fly into that? Its harder to hit it than to miss it.
Flashback to Lehman (When It Was Solvent)The Twin Towers were the tallest buildings on the eastern seaboard, and I used to watch them fade into view whenever I flew back to London from Newark.I immediately thought of my bartender at the Greatest Bar on Earth, Frank.When I was a pup at Lehman Brothers (rest in peace) in 1997-1998, I used to walk across the bridge from 3 World Financial Center to the World Trade Center at 5:30 pm every Friday.From there, Id take the fast elevator up to the Greatest Bar on Earth - the restaurant was called Windows on the World - and as soon as Id pop my head in, Frank would hold up a bottle of Tanqueray.I was 23-years-old, making $36,000 a year, and this guy made me feel like Warren Buffett.By the time my ass hit my barstool, a Tanqueray martini (with three olives, please!) would be waiting for me.Id have a few of those and be hammered.Then Id walk over to the window and put my forehead against the plexiglass. Id watch the clouds sweep below my feet and into the building. It was heaven, indeed.Id then hold my thumb and pointer finger about a half-inch apart to measure Lady Libertys height in New York Harbor.From there, wed go out on the town. Maybe to Pravda or Chez Es Saada. If we were casual, maybe Bleeker Street or the Wall Street Kitchen.Thats when New York was genuinely the most fantastic city in the world. My heart is heavy writing about it and America in 2021.
Back to London in 2001Like most, as soon as I saw the second plane hit, I knew something sinister was afoot.London went on high alert and closed its airspace.Phones started ringing. Are you ok?Nearly 3,000 werent. That was their last morning. My cousin Michael, pictured third from left in the above picture, helped save a mans life that day. Big Props!I remember a work colleague of mine later saying, You were either there, or you werent. And Im glad I was there.But sitting 3,500 miles away in London gave me the blessing - or curse - of detachment.And since that fateful day, this is what Ive seen.
Screw Your Freedom!Arnie, Arnie, Arnie. Seriously, what the f*ck?Could you imagine back in the late 90s Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Immigrant, Kennedy in-law, future governor of California uttering that phrase?This was a man for whom former Utah Senator Orrin Hatch floated the idea of rewriting the Constitution so that he could run for president.Jesus H. Christ.Sadly, this isnt a one-off. Or a slip of the tongue. Look around you. Too many Americans feel this way right now.Im going to say it right here: since 9/11, Americans - especially its government - have been panicking at the slightest vibration.Lets rip off a list of things American citizens have allowed their government to implement since 9/11.
- The Patriot Act
- The War on Terror
- War in Afghanistan
- War in Iraq
- CIA black sites and waterboarding
- Moving terror cases from civil courts to military tribunals
- The Department of Homeland Security and the arming of local police
- Second passport
- Online business
- Get healthy
With that, Ill leave you to finish your coffee.
Have a wonderful week ahead.
All the best,