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Mike Personal Letter

Sunday, September 16, 2001 (7:15pm Central Standard Time)

I am writing to you from high in the sky on a Continental flight returning from San Francisco to Houston. As a member of the National Advisory Council, I was to be in a Franklin Templeton Mutual Funds meeting Wednesday through Saturday. My wife Rosie and I went a few days early to enjoy the wine country before the start of the business meeting, which was ultimately cancelled.

I was in the shower Tuesday morning in the Vintage Inn in Yountville, California (in the middle of the Napa Valley) when my wife put on her jogging radio. She yelled into the bathroom, “you won’t believe this, but a plane just hit the World Trade Center”. We both rushed to the TV where we spent the next three or so hours rotating through the emotions of shock, horror, helplessness, sorrow, dismay and then just hollowness.

Contrary to what the press is reporting, the world has not changed. The world has never really been the safe, cozy place that you and I have known. From Gingas Kahn to the Barbary Coast pirates to Adolf Hitler, there have always been bad people in this world, and there still are today. What has changed in our world is that the complacency and feelings of security, bred thru a life filled with the creature comforts of our society, as well as the civilized innocence of our day-to-day experiences, have been shattered. What has changed in this world, perhaps not forever, but certainly for a generation, is that the perceptions of this world by those previously sheltered are now more realistic.

Ignorance was bliss, and for now, the truth hurts.

I have cried a little bit every day since Tuesday. I am deeply, deeply saddened by the absolute loss needlessly suffered by so many. As a father, I am saddened by the thought of the thousands of children robbed of the future life experiences with their Moms and Dads. Of the thousands of parents who lost their children, I am foreseeing for them a lifetime of hollowness in their hearts. I am saddened for the hundreds of thousands who have lost husbands, wives, co-workers, clients, co-parishioners and good friends.

I am terribly saddened to know that this entire catastrophe was potentially preventable. Assuming that the reported perpetrator (Bin Laden) really is responsible for this, his exact location was known to the prior administration (Clinton) about a year ago, following the attack on the Navy Ship Cole. For whatever reason, the Clinton administration took no action. Further, it is my understanding, that Israeli Intelligence, just a month or so ago, warned their U.S. contacts that one or more U.S. flagged airlines was soon to be the target of a hijacking. Even with this warning, the terrorist hijackers were unbelievably successful. If this is true, the U.S. security and intelligence system/bureaucracy failed miserably and must be fixed.

I am saddened that our uniquely American way of life will henceforth be different. In the years ahead there will be more hassles in our lives, certainly in the areas of transportation and communications. I am saddened that we will likely lose a certain level of our prior personal freedoms, supposedly in return for our security.

I have cried in honor and appreciation of the paramount and heroic human struggle being exhibited by the rescue workers in N.Y. and D.C. I have also cried knowing that the dying is not finished. Although I firmly support the decision, I am saddened to know that in the coming military action, many more lives will be lost. There is nothing good about a common street fight or an all out war, but both become necessary when your very existence is in jeopardy.

I hope and pray that the American public fully understands and does not become complacent about the fact that the people behind this attack, if they had the power to do so, would extinguish our existence.

In WW II Admiral Bull Halsey said “There are no great men, there are only great challenges which ordinary men are forced by circumstance to meet.” I am saddened to know that in the coming months the men and women of our armed forces and our nation’s leaders will certainly face circumstances requiring such forced greatness.

I am also hopeful that the deaths of these approximately 6,000 people will ultimately lead to many other lives being saved. The actions to be taken will not be pleasant, and certainly we did not wish this situation to be thrust upon us. I am confident however that the actions by our country and our allies in the ensuing months will decrease the probability of a similar or an even worse atrocity in the future.

At times like these, our day-to-day problems and challenges are placed into a comparative perspective which makes them seem almost insignificant. At times like these, we also stop in our rat races and take the time to reflect and to appreciate who we are, the blessings that we have and the love of family and friends that surrounds us. I want you to know that you, each of you, my clients, have also been in my reflective thoughts as I appreciate the special relationship that we share.

My prayers are with you and your loved ones. The world will not stop spinning. Freedom and Democracy and America will continue to flourish.


Michael W. Hesse, CFP, CLU, ChFC
President, Texas Wealth Management, Inc.
Registered Principal, FSC Securities Corporation

This is being provided for informational purposes only. Please be advised the information provided here is dated and may not be accurate in the current economic environment.

The views expressed are not necessarily the opinion of FSC Securities Corporation, and should not be construed directly or indirectly, as an offer to buy or sell any securities mentioned herein. Investing is subject to risks including loss of principal invested.