September 10, 2021

We Remember the SEC’s Role After the September 11 Attacks

I know my friends at the SEC had similar experiences on September 11, 2001. They were getting their work day started when the news of the crash of American Airlines Flight 11 broke, and when it became clear that New York and Washington were under attack, the agency evacuated the old office building at 450 Fifth Street and the staffers began a long trek home in a city that was in complete lockdown.

The New York attacks struck at the heart of the financial district, and so many financial firms were located in the Twin Towers and surrounding buildings that were impacted by the attack. As noted in this press release from then SEC Chair Harvey Pitt, the markets did not open for trading in New York on September 11. In fact, the devastation was so great that markets would not open again until the following Monday, September 17. As noted in this press release, the SEC took bold steps and used, for the first time, its emergency powers to ease certain regulatory restrictions so that the markets could open in an orderly manner. Amazingly, the markets did reopen thanks to the hard work of the SEC staff, the exchanges and all of the financial firms who pulled together in their darkest hour to show the world that the United States would not be defeated by terror. We should remember their efforts as one of the many ways the United States came together to demonstrate our strength and resilience in the face of these attacks.

– Dave Lynn