To Our Readers

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I got up a little earlier than usual last tuesday. my day, perhaps like yours, was shaping up to be pretty busy, so I wanted to get a head start. A little before 8 a.m., I kissed my wife and son goodbye and headed to Time's offices in midtown Manhattan. By 8:30, I was at my desk, answering e-mails. Shortly before 9 a.m., Steve Koepp, the deputy managing editor, called on his cell phone from downtown. Walking his son to school, he could see that a plane had crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.

Thus began for all of us a day that will live as much in infamy as Dec. 7, 1941. Terrorism has struck America before, but never this brazenly and never with such heartbreaking destruction. As my colleagues and I watched the horrific events, we decided to devote a special issue to memorializing this day and to get it into our readers' hands as quickly as possible. We have ripped up issues for news before, of course; in fact, on that first day of infamy, when Pearl Harbor was bombed, we ditched the cover we had planned (on a new Walt Disney movie called Dumbo) and switched to Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet. (In those days we closed early in the week.) In this case, since we now close on Saturdays, the workweek had just begun, so we didn't have to throw anything out; we just started from scratch.

Jim Nachtwey, who is usually overseas covering wars for Time, rushed to the World Trade Center to shoot photos for this issue. As fate would have it, Time's James Carney was one of only 13 reporters traveling on Air Force One with President George Bush when he took off from Florida and secretly flew to a secure military base in Louisiana. Other Time reporters raced to the World Trade Center and hospitals around Manhattan, while our journalists around the world—from Washington to Kabul, from Los Angeles to Jerusalem—filed reports overnight Tuesday. All this reporting landed on the desk of senior editor Nancy Gibbs, who over the course of dozens of covers has proved that no one is better at capturing a moment of high drama and deep emotion.

While my colleagues in New York City scrambled to meet our deadlines, many of us also tried to reach relatives and friends who work in downtown Manhattan. I looked at hundreds of photographs for this issue, and as a native New Yorker whose dad was a New York City policeman for 25 years, I kept coming back to the faces of my fellow New Yorkers who escaped death and the cops and fire fighters who helped them do it, knowing that in the days to come we will see so many pictures of those who did not make it out alive.

As soon as we finished this special issue, we went right back to work on our regular issue. This is a story that will be with us for a very long time, and we and our colleagues at will cover it as thoroughly and nimbly as we did in the first 24 hours. Meanwhile, all of us offer our condolences to the relatives and friends of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, innocent victims of terrorism who will never again be able to kiss those they love before they head off to work.

Jim Kelly, Managing Editor