On August 16, 1987, Northwest Airlines flight 225 crashed just after
taking off from the Detroit airport, killing 155 people. One survived: a
four-year-old from Tempe, Arizona, named Cecelia. When rescuers found Cecelia they did not believe she had been on the
plane. Investigators first assumed Cecelia had been a passenger in one
of the cars on the highway onto which the airliner crashed. But when the
passenger register for the flight was checked, there was Cecelia's
Cecelia survived because, even as the plane was falling, Cecelia's mother, Paula Cichan, unbuckled her own seat belt, got down on her knees in front of her daughter, wrapped her arms and body around Cecelia, and then would not let her go.
Nothing could separate that child from her parent’s love—neither tragedy nor disaster, neither the fall nor the flames that followed, neither height nor depth, neither life nor death.