If you’re looking for something different to read about on the fifth anniversary of September 11, I suggest reading the wikipedia entry on Philippe Petit. He walked a tightrope between the twin towers in 1974. Here’s a little more on Philippe from a PBS “American Experience”:

After months scouting the towers, including posing as a journalist to interview Port Authority executive Guy Tozzoli, he set to work on the evening of Tuesday, August 6. While one group of colleagues made its way up the north tower, Petit and two friends slipped up to the top of the south tower, carrying their concealed equipment, including a disassembled balancing pole, wire for rigging, 250 feet of one-inch braided steel cable, and a bow and arrow…

It took all night to complete the rigging, securing the steel cable a quarter of a mile in the sky across the 130-foot gap separating the towers. Wall Street was just beginning to come to life when, at a little past seven on the morning of August 7, 1974, Philippe Petit stepped onto the wire stretched out across the void.

There’s even a children’s book about his exploits: “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.” It kind of glosses over the illegality of the whole deal. I read the book last night to my kids; it was a helpful way to start talking about Sept. 11.

The penultimate page simply reads: “Now the towers are gone.”

Here’s the final page:

The text, by Mordicai Gerstein, reads:

But in memory, as if imprinted on the sky, the towers are still there. And part of that memory is the joyful morning, August 7, 1974, when Philippe Petit walked between them in the air.