Remembering baking’s painful 9/11 legacy
Amid all the attention surrounding the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the baking industry looks back at that tragic day and its aftermath with a measurably different perspective from the nation at large. While the general population certainly has noted the anniversary year by year since 2001, the baking industry has felt these dates more deeply. Because they occurred during and interrupted the 2001 International Baking Industry Exposition, the attacks had a directly negative impact on baking and its most important collective event. Bakers and allied suppliers were together en masse, away from homes and families, stranded for seemingly interminable days with air travel paralyzed as the nation tried to fathom the disaster and what it meant. While modest, of course, compared with those who lost loved ones, the industry was left scarred. As a result, baking has marked this dark anniversary each year as well as every three years when gathering for Baking Expo. The economic shockwaves that followed the attacks hit baking hard, particularly equipment suppliers who had counted on the 2001 Expo as a launching point for business that largely failed to materialize. The years that followed were difficult ones. Still, it is also worth remembering 9/11 in the context of the unbridled success that was achieved a year ago at the 2010 Baking Expo, with its robust attendance and subsequent reports of strong equipment sales activity. That success underscores the resilience of baking, emblematic of the gritty determination that has always been and remains a hallmark of this nation.