Bill Clinton (search) was president, John McCain was looking increasingly like he could be president and Al Gore looked almost certain he would be president.
The World Trade Center still stood and the Pentagon was still a fortress.
Airplanes flew with cockpit doors often open and passengers waited on security lines, but they were almost always short.
Saddam Hussein (search) was still in power and everyone knew it. Usama bin Laden was still wandering around Afghanistan and almost nobody knew him.
It was March, 2000: When the money was easy, the bubble was bubbly and the Nasdaq (search) was at the 5,000 mark.
It was hard not to make money in stocks: taxicab drivers traded during the day and restless college students traded late into the night.
It was easy dough, fun dough — almost play dough.
It was a gravy train and everyone was on it, until the train stopped and the gravy ran out.
It didn't happen in a single day. But it all started unraveling in what seemed like just a matter of days.
Less than four weeks after this incredible week five years ago, the Nasdaq had tumbled 1000 points. It would fall a thousand more by November 2000 and more than a thousand points after that only months after that.
The lights went out on the day traders. They stopped buying stocks. Soon, they stopped buying, period.
Retail sales suffered. Car sales suffered more.
There'd be a new president and a terror attack and a scandal and a war.
There'd be sharply defined red states and blue states.
They'd say of the state of the economy might never recover. It did. We did.
Five years ago, it all seemed so far away. When the money was easy and life seemed easier. It was.
Oh, for that week when everything seemed right. Before reality — and airplanes — came crashing.
The amazing thing isn't that we got through these last five years. The amazing thing is that we never doubted we would.
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