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August 31, 2002

Freedom and September 11

By John A. Byrne

The creators of the United States Constitution learned a profound lesson from the tyrannical

abuses that once swept Europe. That's why these learned individuals were driven to create one nation under God, indivisible and free with liberty and justice for all. These framers of the Constitution - diligent men indeed - were acutely aware of power run amok in foreign lands. They created a political structure designed to bring power to the people. The founders set up the houses of Congress and an executive branch under the President. The founders, influenced by the thinking of Locke, Montesquieu and others, created three separate branches of government. Power was evenly distributed so that no despot could rise up from the center. At the pinnacle of this extraordinary creation was the Supreme Court.

The U.S., since it was founded more than 200 years ago, has been a beacon of light, hope and prosperity for people from lands the world over. When America was attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001, it was an assault on the substance and symbols of our free market system. The attack itself was seemingly provoked by a group angry at American policies. "What they were attacking in part was the images and symbols of America and they wanted to make a big splash," said securities industry activist Arthur Pacheco. This was, in essence, an act of war, an unspeakable crime against humanity that resulted in the loss of some 3,000 lives.

It is one thing for the terrorists to argue that America is recklessly throwing its weight around the globe, supporting one group over another. But it is another to argue that America is a dark, satanic force, the home of the Infidel. Some foolish minds mistakenly confuse the success and wealth of America, a system propelled at its core by Wall Street, with greed and avarice and some horrible, immoral impulses. Some foolishly think that this kind of system must inevitably be rotten at the core. In fact, wealth, legally created, is frequently associated with conservative-minded, hardworking folks who had poor parents or grandparents. There are some stark injustices and flaws in our system, to be sure, but it is a system that has endured and provided freedom and succor for generations. America, of course, must not blindly exact revenge but must encourage peace and prosperity the world over. America must be strong. In this issue, dedicated to the members of the trading community who were lost on September 11, we talk to pros about the tragedy in a piece penned by assistant managing editor Gregory Bresiger. Our prayers will be remembered for the victims, their families and friends.

On a separate note, the Cover Story is about Jack Hughes, an executive at Janney Montgomery Scott, who is taking the helm as chairman of the Security Traders Association. Our best wishes, Jack.

John A. Byrne