Where Were You When Lehman Brothers Collapsed?

Lehman Brothers Building, Sept. 14, 2008
Lehman Brothers Building, Sept. 14, 2008

History is often measured by "Where were you" moments, incredible events that shift the course of a era, define a generation, or radically and permanently change the national conversation. Some of these, like the Kennedy assassination, the Challenger shuttle explosion, or the events of Sept. 11, 2001, seem to make the entire world stop in its tracks. Others are felt more locally -- at least in the beginning -- but their ripples end up touching nearly everyone.

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On Wall Street, the fall of Lehman Brothers was one of these moments. From the floor of the stock exchange to the cubicles and boardrooms of New York's biggest banks, it was clear that the rules had suddenly changed. While the term "too big to fail" would continue to be bandied about, smart investors and clever businesspeople realized that any company could crash and burn, particularly if its CEO -- like Lehman's Richard Fuld -- was unwilling to face hard facts.

Two years after Lehman's collapse, DailyFinance reporters Bruce Watson and Nikhil Hutheesing interviewed some of the front-row spectators who were there for one of the economy's darkest days. In the process, they discovered that, while the impact of Sept. 15, 2008 is still being felt, hints of its magnitude were clear from the very beginning.