Later I read that 14 died because of the crash, one of them a man blown out of a seventy-fifth floor window. Twenty-five were injured or horribly burned by the torrents of flaming gasoline that cascaded down stairwells and rolled into hallways. Wanting to leave but afraid to go alone, I sat at the counter and held the little boy on my lap while the pharmacist put a splint on his mother’s wrist.

I grew up a lot between trains. I have never been to the top of the Empire State Building; I am uncomfortable in elevators and nervous when I fly. But I learned that deep down inside, the American people are all alike. If someone needs help, we reach out.