One story gave us pause. As it happened, Rudy Chelminski, one of Smithsonian’s favorite writers, had visited the twin towers in August with Philippe Petit, the French high-wire artist who, back in 1974, almost single-handedly transformed the World Trade Center from architectural travesty—the initial judgment of many New Yorkers—to urban icon. Rudy’s portrait of Petit, an artist of indisputable authenticity, made compelling reading. But would the wounds of September remain too raw for a story about a man who blithely, even illegally, danced on a wire strung above what has so tragically become known as ground zero? In the end we decided that spotlighting one of the World Trade Center’s most exhilarating moments (see " Turning Point") made a fitting tribute to it.
Two articles about which we had no reservations whatsoever are Geoffrey C. Ward’s reflections on American resilience (" Samuel G. Freedman’s wrenching report from New York City (" Aftershocks"), which underscores the chilling fact that the effects may be with us for a very long time indeed.
This year, as in years past, Smithsonian has surveyed children’s books. This year, we fervently hope that by the time we put them under Christmas trees or give them for Hanukkah, the grief that now staggers us will have receded.
by Carey Winfrey, editor