A plaque and Rose of Sharon tree, located on the east side of the Shepard Administration Building, were dedicated to Harry Glenn on November 1, 2003. Photo by Campus Echo co-editor Jacquazha Nettles.
A plaque and Rose of Sharon tree, located on the east side of the Shepard Administration Building, were dedicated to Harry Glenn on November 1, 2003. Photo by Campus Echo co-editor Jacquazha Nettles.

Son remembers NCCU alum and 9/11 victim Harry Glenn

October 14, 2021

On the morning of September 11, 2001, N.C. Central University alumni Harry Glenn lost his life when a hijacked plane struck floors 93 – 100 of the One World Trade Center. Glenn worked on the 97th floor.

Jalen Glenn, Harry Glenn’s son. Photo courtesy Jalen Glenn.

He was one of the 2,997 who lost their lives on that that horrific day. To date Glenn’s remains have not been identified.

His son Jalen told the Campus Echo he turned seven years old on September 10, the day before the terrorist attack.

Glenn was a 1983 business administration summa cum laude graduate working at One World Trade Center for Marsh & McLennan, one of the nation’s top professional services firms. In all, Marsh McLennan lost 358 of its workforce that day. Glenn’s career path in computer technologies took him from AT&T, where he played a key role developing the pre-paid calling card, to BankTrust, to Sapient Corp. and then to Marsh & McLennan, where he was the assistant vice president of global technology.

“I was in my second grade class when it happened,” said Jalen, who is now 27 and a graduate of Fordham University with a bachelor’s degree in communications and media studies. “I get a lot of birthday love and then the next day it’s everybody saying thinking of you.”

Now he describes September 11, 2001 as “the longest day of the year … It is just a reminder of the pain I’ve experienced.”

In October 11, 2001, Sharon Glenn, Harry’s wife, told the Campus Echo that she knew that her husband was in the World Trade Center Towers. “Harry took being on time very seriously,” she said, adding that Glenn was “always punctual.”

In that article she recalled Jalen asking her, “Mommy why are you crying?”

Sharon Glenn told the New York Times it took her seven days to break the news to Jalen that his dad had died in the World Trade Center attack.

Jalen said his teacher had the TV on that day and the “image is always seared in my mind of what happened. I remember holding out hope that my dad would come home.”

On October 31, 2001 Roosevelt Glenn Sr., Harry Glenn’s dad, told the New York Times he simply had to stop watching the news altogether. “I don’t think I’m ever going to get seeing that plane hit his building out of my mind,” Roosevelt said.

According to “Remembering September 11, 2001”: a series of online profiles of 9/11 victims, Glenn was the pride of his family.

“The fourth of five boys, the son who said he was going to learn all about computers, and then when and did just that,” Roosevelt said.

“Harry had a goal that he set for himself, and he followed it. I don’t think he had any idea how many people were proud of him,” he said.

Roosevelt “loved bragging” about how nobody thought his son could make it out of Harlem. But he did, and after graduating from NCCU, he managed to eventually land employment at Marsh & McLennan.

Harry Glenn’s plaque was presented by the Class of 1983 on November 1, 2003. The text at bottom reads “I’m not a quitter my friend. I kept on fighting until the end. And the only thing I can say is I finished early.”

In the interview with the Times-News, Sharon Glenn recalls her husband as “a very hard worker … Everybody loved Harry. He just had that gift. He was always helping out.”  Glenn was known as a father figure on his block where grew up in Piscataway, NJ.

Marsh & McLennan hosts a legacy page – https://memorial.mmc.com/– to honor colleagues lost on September 11, 2001.

According to former colleagues, Glenn made a long-lasting impression with his smile and positive attitude wherever he went. Comments refer to Glenn as “intense,” “well-liked,” “smart,” and “an outstanding gentleman.”

“I always smile when I remember your infectious smile,” wrote former AT&T colleague Sandi Veres on the Marsh & McLennan legacy page.

In all there are 70 entries about Glenn. And it grows every year.

“I’m trying to hold down the fort in your memory. With your teachings you instilled in me … I WILL TALK 2 YOU SOON. YOUR BROTHER DONALD,” writes Donald Glenn.

Former AT&T colleague Jim Ward-Nichols writes to Glenn on the legacy site almost every year.

“It’s hard to imagine that 5 years have passed,” he writes. “I’ve come all the way from Sedona, Arizona to pay tribute to you today … I am in NYC right this very minute and am heading down to the site in just a little while.”

Glenn worked at AT&T for 14 years and he left his mark on many of his colleagues. He was known for giving chances and genuinely caring. While there he volunteered to support young black employees in a mentorship program.

His AT&T colleagues coined a nickname for Glenn: “two beer Harry.” According to former colleague Bill Kroeschel this always got a laugh from Glenn.

Robert Manzi was hired by Glenn at AT&T to lead his team. “I worked hard for Harry in return for his confidence in me,” writes Manzi on the legacy page.

“From that point on, I have excelled in my career path in leadership roles. This was all started with the trust and chance that Harry had given me. Harry, I will never forget what a magnificent gift you had given me. Thank you.”

Marione Herman writes that she didn’t know Glenn personally but that she keeps in touch with his son Jalen, “just because she is an EAGLE, too.”

Faith, a family friend writes: “You would be so proud of Jalen. He has so many of your mannerisms & definitely your infectious smile.”

“It’s very good to see them keeping that legacy alive, and it’s a little weird to think that they knew my father longer than I did,” Jalen Glenn said. “But it does make me feel good that they do notice similarities between he and I.”

Jalen recalls his last vacation with his mom and dad at Disneyworld in August, 2001. Jalen loved roller coasters and was excited. But his dad wasn’t a fan at all. At 48 inches or a little more, Jalen was finally tall enough to be permitted on the roller coaster.

Harry Glenn with his wife, Sharon, and son Jalen. Courtesy Sharon Glenn.

“I’ll never forget it was 48 inches tall. It was raining. It was the last ride we were riding at Disneyworld,” Jalen said. “My dad had his eyes closed so tightly, and I’m just like cheesing so hard. But that really does encapsulate that he would do anything for me.”

Jalen said that the passage of time has eased his loss.

“Over time I’ve grown a little bit more comfortable reading about these stories and seeing what happened,” Jalen said. “I’ve started to try to read a little bit more about other individuals, the Pentagon and Flight 93, so I guess time heals a little bit.”

“The older I get, the strategy I find with resolving conflicts is being able to listen and have empathy and try to show love when you can,” Jalen said. “That’s not always the way that folks go about that kind of stuff but I think that’s the biggest takeaway from my experience with the tragedy.”

Jalen is now pursuing a graduate degree in the Fordham Gabelli School of Business.

“Twenty years have passed,” writes longtime family friend Susan Burwell on a Time-News 9/11 legacy page. “It seems as though 9/11 happened a minute ago. The children are all grown up and flourishing. We will never forget your kind soul. Rest peacefully.”

The Campus Echo first reported on the death of Harry Glenn on October 11,2001: http://web.nccu.edu/campus/echo/archive2-0102/c-memorial.html

 

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A plaque and Rose of Sharon tree, located on the east side of the Shepard Administration Building, were dedicated to Harry Glenn on November 1, 2003. Photo by Campus Echo co-editor Jacquazha Nettles.
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