Memory: September 11

Louise McCarren remembers what it was like in New York that day.

911

Louise McCarren

A routine trip to New York City.  Catch the early morning commuter plane, cab to midtown for meetings and return.

A crystal clear morning. The plane came directly down the city and right above the Twin Towers. My seatmate observed that her son worked there. Landed at LaGuardia, caught a cab and headed into the city. As we were headed south through Central Park, the cabbie said, Listen to this. A small plane had hit one of the towers and papers and debris were falling.

When we came out of the park and through the square we could see the other tower and then the plane hit. Proceeded west to midtown. All appeared normal on the streets.

Went to the 42nd floor to meet colleagues and watch in horror as the towers fell.  There was ash everywhere. Fortunately the wind was blowing from the north so the ash was blowing away from the city.

Realized that below us was 20 floors of telephone switching, an ideal target.

We were able to secure hotel rooms in the theater district. As we left through the lobby the CEO was there saying that the office would stay open, and the cafeteria, in case folks needed to stay.

Several colleagues and I headed north on foot. We stopped at one hotel for one person and waited in the lobby. Suddenly police came in and yelled at everyone to leave because of a threat. Two Italian women were crying, I tried to comfort them and helped them out.

Headed to the hotel, loaned my cell phone to people in long lines at pay phones. Stopped by Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and said a short prayer.