The death of Osama bin Laden this week has brought back memories for friends and families who lost loved ones not only in the September 11 terrorist attacks but in other acts attributed to bin Laden and al-Qaeda such as the 1998 embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya. Of the 2,977 victims of the 9/11 attacks, there were just three were listed as having homes in North Carolina.
At North Carolina Central University we remember New Jersey resident, Mr. Harry Glenn, NCCU Class of 1983.
If you walk across the south side of the Hoey Administration Building, you'll see a commemorative stone for Mr. Glenn set there by his fellow students of the Class of 1983. He met his wife, Sharon, here at NCCU where they both earned degrees in business administration. I suspect that her name is the reason that a Rose of Sharon tree was selected to shade Mr. Glenn's marker.
Mr. Glenn grew up in East Harlem, came to NCCU for college, and then returned to the New York City area with his wife. There, he worked for AT&T in Piscataway, New Jersey, then held other positions until joining Marsh & McLellan in the World Trade Center. On September 11, 2001, the 38-year-old husband and father of a son, Jalen, was working as assistant vice president in the global technology service department.
The Chicago-founded insurance corporation occupied eight floors of the WTC North Tower and lost 295 employees and 60 contract workers on that day.
Harry Glenn was the pride of his family, the fourth of five boys, the son who said he was going to college to learn all about computers, and then went and did it. Mr. Glenn's father, Roosevelt, loved to brag about his boy Harry, 38, how he kept his promise and how he managed to get a good job looking after Marsh & McLennan's elaborate network of computers. "A lot of people didn't believe he could come out of Harlem and do as well as he did," Mr. Glenn said. "But 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."
And from Ashley Grey of the Newark Star-Ledger:
"He was a very focused individual," Mrs. Glenn said. "A very hard worker . . . Everybody loved Harry. He just had that gift. He was always helping out."
He was not only a good father to his son, but a father figure to neighborhood children.
"He was a very good person to everybody. He spoke to everybody, he was a very warm person," said Susan Burwell, whose family lived next to the Glenns for seven years.
He volunteered in a black leadership mentoring program while at AT&T as well as other mentoring programs throughout his career.
As I walk past the Rose of Sharon and commemorative stone a few times a week, I have a continuous reminder of our responsibilities as mentors of the NCCU RISE scholars who write here.
We cannot bring back Mr. Glenn but we can act in a manner that honors his memory.