Students at Mount St. Mary Academy now have a better understanding of the 9/11 attacks, and how to move forward after tragedy strikes.
Charles Wolf, a Town of Tonawanda native, visited the school Thursday. Wolf lost his wife, Katherine, on September 11, 2001.
“She started working in the World Trade Center on August 31st, 2001,” Wolf said.
She started on the 97th flood of the North Tower just two weeks before the attacks. And Wolf told the students just days before 9/11, his wife’s boss asked if she could come in early, at 8:30 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. The plane that killed Katherine hit the tower she was working in at 8:46 a.m.
“I kissed her goodbye, and that was the last time I ever heard from her.”
Many of the students in the crowd weren’t born yet, on the day Katherine Wolf, and thousands of others, lost their lives.
“Even 18 years later, this is still very emotional to me,” he said.
Wolf heard the first plane hit the floor his wife was working on. It flew right over his apartment that morning. He’s a private pilot and told the students about calling the FBI that morning.
“I told them that was no accident, that was a twin engine jet going full throttle.”
He also called the news. He said doing those little things made him feel productive. And since that life-changing day, he hasn’t stopped. He lobbied for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), and fought for a 9/11 Memorial Museum that told the whole story, no matter how emotional it is to see.
His lobbying continued in the library of Mount St. Mary on Thursday.
“If something bad happens to you, don’t let it stop you,” he told the students.
He’s now lobbying to young people the importance of moving forward through tragedy, and finding the good in the worst of situations.
“You can make a difference,” he said. “You don’t always have to sit there. You can find a way. And if you’re sure enough of yourself… you can actually get things done.”