Today’s 17th anniversary of September 11, 2001, has our office reminiscing on both the tragic events of that day but also defining moments of our lives—just as 9/11 was a defining moment in American history.
Keep reading for a walk down memory lane with the Johnson Bixby team—hearing about personal defining moments and our memories of that fateful September day.
Heidi Johnson Bixby
A defining adventure. My first trip to Sub-Saharan Africa in 1995. While I had traveled internationally prior, Africa provided a special experience that has inspired and motivated my actions since. I had the chance to see children happy yet having no material possessions. People wanted to know who I was, not define me by my job. Everyone was welcome whether they belonged to your family or not. A true sense of community. Eight trips over the last 20 years and it’s still true. Today I look for joy in the simple things. Through financial planning I can help clients see the possibilities for their lives and do my part to participate in my community.
Buy on bad news, sell on good. In the days following 9/11 the stock market was closed. Since all trading had been stopped, nothing could be done to change existing portfolios. I remember a lot of tension building up over what would happen once trading resumed. It was reported that one of the aims of the terrorists was to shake the foundation of American capitalism, to cause a huge sell off. There was a big concern that the market would plunge when it re-opened, given the new uncertainty in the world.
It always seems that Americans are at their best when their backs are up against the wall – don’t underestimate us. I took a call from a woman a day or two after 9/11, when the market was still closed. She wasn’t a client but was calling to find out where she could make a purchase of some US-based stock to show her unwavering support for our country’s economy. She told me that after hearing all of the worries on the news about how the terrorists were trying to undermine our economy, the most patriotic thing she could do would be to buy some Coca Cola, Nike, General Electric, etc.
Most clients I talked to wanted to sell their holdings during those early days, but she had a different idea all together. I feel that is a lesson more people should try to adopt: buy on the bad news and sell on the good (a version of buy low, sell high).
United we stand. 9/11 was the most devastating, heart breaking event I have ever witnessed (on television) in my entire life. The whole world became quiet in horror and disbelief. At the same time, I was deeply affected by complete strangers who came together risking their lives without thought to save others, or help in another capacity. I realized we are capable of setting aside our beliefs, our differences, and unite as a nation.
I became a patriot. The days that followed were so powerful, one of most defining moments in my life. I remember the skies being so quiet with the air ban and stores selling out of American flags. More than anything I remember the act of patriotism that came over country, feeling so proud to be an American.
Early memories of 9/11. I just remember sitting in disbelief. I remember watching the planes hit but not really grasping what was going on. I was working at a bank at the time and much of our day we went about as normal. It was not until seeing the ground footage and what events followed that it really sunk in how serious the event was.
Grades are not as important as they seem. A defining life moment I often reflect back upon is when I was honored at the 2016 State of the College Address for Clark College. This moment was especially impactful in my learning and professional career because it made me feel like there was space in the world for someone like me. Traditionally speaking, students honored at these events, are chosen for their academic accomplishments but, I was chosen for my determination to learn and ability to ask thoughtful questions. It showed me and other students that grades are not always an indicator of success but rather one’s ability to seek growth and continued education.
Major career shift. In 2006, I took a leap of faith, a 180 degree change of direction in my career path. I left a good job (with a terrible commute) in a field I had worked in since graduating from college. I jumped feet first into the world of financial planning, investments and insurance. I guess I made the right choice, 12 years later I am still learning, growing and enjoy helping clients!
It impacted our community. On 9/11, I was working in a school as a teacher’s aide. We started the day with the television on, watching the breaking news. I remember the event slowly unfolding and having to turn the television off as the kids started getting upset.
Embracing the journey ahead. Both my sons are now in college and we are now empty nesters. It’s been a very big change. We are fortunate to have happy memories and look forward to them becoming independent, happy and productive adults. It is our defining moment and we will embrace it. To borrow a few words from William Ernest Henley’s Invictus, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”
Thank you for letting us be part of the defining moments of your lives. Happy Patriot’s Day!
Written By Rachel Gorretta