"I'd walked their walk. I knew their pain."

Advertisement

In the weeks after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Tom Kight traveled from Oklahoma City to New York to comfort grieving families.

He went because he knew their suffering. His stepdaughter Frankie Merrell died just a few years before 9/11, in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. She was just 23 years old, leaving behind a two-year-old daughter.

"I didn't come up with a crystal ball of answers. I'm talking to the group, and I say, 'I can only share what worked for me and what didn't work for me,'" Kight recalled to KOCO News' Alejandra Briones ahead of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. "But one thing I tell them: 'Don't try to get through this by yourself.'"

Kight said he wanted to repay New Yorkers who lifted Oklahoma City up in its time of need.

"I didn't even hesitate because, for me, it was a chance to give back to total strangers that came to our aid here in Oklahoma. When you went to New York, people up there, if you said you were from Oklahoma, they thought you were God, you could walk on water," Kight told the local news station. "I'd walked their walk. I knew their pain."

Today, the 82-year-old wears a bracelet given to him by a woman named Laurie who lost her brother, a Port Authority police officer, in the World Trade Center attacks.

"I wear this every day," Kight said.

Even though they're more than a thousand miles apart, Oklahoma City and New York City will always be bound closely together by tragedy.