9/11 Survivor William Raff sits in front of students , sharing his impactful experience

William Raff, a graduate of the Westfield High School Class of 1967 and survivor of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center twin towers on September 11, 2001, recently shared his impactful experience with WHS students.

“September 11 started like any other Tuesday,” Raff began as he recounted with great precision the details of that day 22 years ago. Raff, then a senior vice president with Fuji Bank working on the 82nd floor in the South Tower, said 23 of his colleagues were among the more than 2,700 people who were killed in the attacks on the twin towers. 

Raff noted that nearly 3,000 people died on September 11 in four coordinated attacks, including at the Pentagon and aboard United Airlines Flight 93. 

WHS language arts teacher Steven Cohn organized Raff’s visit on September 12. He spoke with students in Humanities, Global Perspectives, and Journalism classes. 

“I believe most people are good and that there is always hope,” said Raff, who now serves as a docent for the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York. “Ideologues who promote hate are the problem.”

The WHS graduate advised students to first be kind to themselves, adding:  “Then you can be kind to people you know and, ultimately, to people you don’t know.”