Wendy Glavin, Founder & CEO, Wendy Glavin Agency
On September 11, 2001, I was pushing my 2 1/2-year-old in a stroller to go to a “Mommy and Me” playgroup at the 92nd Street Y. While walking, I saw smoke and looked back over my shoulder to see a plane hitting a building. But, somehow, the news hadn’t hit me.
While there, my son jumped into a maze of balls, but something wasn’t right. After several minutes, the parents were told that a plane hit a building on Wall Street. I panicked because my then-husband worked nearby where the plane hit a building. And, then there was another. I tried calling him every minute or so, but the lines were always busy.
Next, I was terrified about the safety of my two boys, ages 8 and 10 who were students at Buckley, an all-boys private school. I continued calling the school, but the lines were also busy. I rushed while pushing my son through smoke and soot to Buckley on East 74th Street to pick them up.
Unphased, as they were too young to understand they said, “Mom, you’re the last parent to pick us up.” I continued calling my husband to no avail.
I pushed my youngest son and pulled the others while we hurriedly walked uptown amidst people running downtown. The only thing I could think of was I needed to go to the supermarket to buy food and supplies. Once there, it was packed so I grabbed whatever I could like canned goods, water, bread, candles, flashlight batteries, water and anything else I could get my hands on.
We waited in a long line which seemed like hours. Thankfully, I spoke with my husband who met us there, loaded up the cart and went home. Once home, we closed all the windows as the smell was overwhelming. While my husband and I were glued to the TV, friends worldwide called to make sure we were okay.
We stayed inside for several days not knowing what to do. Thankfully, my three boys were too young to grasp the gravity of the situation. I was in shock and terrified of additional terrorist’s attacks.
During the subsequent days, weeks and months, I knew we couldn’t remain in New York City. We took drives to different towns and decided to relocate to Darien, CT. When I met with the Headmaster at Buckley, he said, “I understand and will hold the three spots open for a year in case your family decides to return.”
We found a house overlooking a horse farm that was picturesque and moved there. During that year, not knowing that I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, I tried my best to immerse myself and my children in their new public school and community activities.
Looking back, I should have spoken to a specialist to help me. But I’d never experienced anything like this and had no idea I needed help. Fortunately, my three sons were resilient and participated in suburban life by playing sports and making new friends.
After a year, the boys told me they missed New York City and wanted to go back. We did and they returned to school, but my fears persisted.
During the last 19 years, there’s a lot of things I’ve forgotten. But, the events of September 11th are still fresh in my mind. So many lives were lost. While not a real consolation, New Yorkers and people worldwide supported us during those life-changing times.
We’ll always remember those who lost their lives, families who will always grieve and salute those who fought to save others.
About the Author: Wendy Glavin is Founder and CEO of Wendy Glavin, a NYC full-service agency. Wendy is a 30-year veteran of corporate, agency, consulting and small business ownership. She specializes in B2B2C marketing communications, executive writing, PR and social media advisory. Her website is: https://wendyglavin.com/. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.