A Letter From the Publisher: Jun. 9, 1986

Question: How do you photograph a story that happens in 15 minutes, covers about 4,152 miles of terrain and involves an estimated 5.4 million people, including newborn babies, Navajo Indians and the President of the U.S. ? Answer: with a lot of planning and a great deal of professional help.

"It was a matter of basic journalism, of being good reporters and getting to our sources," says TIME's Picture Editor Arnold Drapkin. "Only in this case, instead of gathering words, we were gathering images." The assignment was to photograph Hands Across America, the Memorial Day-weekend megaevent that brought together volunteers who...

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