Editor's note: This story was reported by TSC staffers Lee Barney in New York and K.C. Swanson in San Francisco and written by Personal Finance Editor Lisa Meyer.
Not many would argue with the fact that since last Tuesday morning much has changed: the New York City and Washington, D.C., area skylines, definitions of war, the domestic and international economies, many corporations and families, and, perhaps most importantly, the way we see each other.
As an end to this week of horrors,
took to the streets and asked the American people how Tuesday's terrorism might have altered their daily lives. Few could argue that things wouldn't be different.
But life still has to go on, said Janine Lyons, 56, a San Francisco property manager.
Lyons, however, couldn't say that everything in her life was the same. Fearing air travel, she already had canceled one business trip and may not go on another next week.
Others told us about how Tuesday's events influenced their views on the economy, spending and investing. Though many felt anxious about their own physical and economic safety, the prevailing sentiment was optimism. Feeling attacked, nay violated, the American people want to strike back, in small but effective ways as they move forward from the debris and lost lives. They have confidence that America will pull through this tragedy. Here are their words:
"If anything, the economy will get better because we Americans are being brought closer together," said Audrey deWys, a 35-year-old television producer who volunteered her time to collect donations for the Red Cross. "This
tragedy has made people willing to help out more, and they will be putting more money into the economy."
Even those working in struggling industries don't believe the economy will plummet because of this tragedy. I'm not worried about my investments because this country's economy has traditionally been able to rebound," said Chris Santee, a 43-year-old Web producer. He lost three clients, all financial services firms, which had their offices in the World Trade Center. Still, he believes his business will survive. "We are the strongest country in the world," he said.
Many of those interviewed knew of the importance of consumer spending for the sake of consumer spending to help usher in a rebound.
"This is one of the few times people have to come together for a common cause," said Russell King, a 39-year-old police officer. "Listen, if they say we have to spend more money, we'll spend more money."
Of course, not everyone was so optimistic. Debbie Castillo, 31, an employee of Sisley, a clothing store and unit of Benetton, said, "We've lost a lot of money and it's hard to say if we're going to lose even more because of this."
And Theodore Cordova, 62, who owns his own translation interpreting company, said, "This is just the beginning of a faster deceleration of the economy and the loss of more jobs."
And Lyons is not alone in her fear of flying. Lori Waldon-DeAdwyler, a 40-year-old television producer, said she and her husband are considering postponing a two-week vacation to Europe. "But there's also a feeling of how can we be having a good time? People are digging for bodies
in New York and Washington D.C.," she added.
Waldon-DeAdwyler also worried that if the U.S. took military action against the terrorists, she and her husband might have a hard time returning home.
"As far as spending, money is tied to your emotions," she said, adding that she's just not in the right mood to splurge on small luxuries like eating out at pricey restaurants.
But for Anthony Barbera, a 26-year-old elevator technician who was five blocks away from the blast, money is not on his mind. "I'm not worried so much about the economy, but what people are going through," he said. "I'm more concerned about the rescue efforts."
Indeed, so are many others.