This wasn't supposed to be a themed issue, it just happened that way. First, I heard from Jack Calmes at Syncrolite about his company's involvement in the lighting of the St. Louis Arch. That seemed like a good idea. Then we heard from Sylvania about the new, energy-efficient lighting for the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC. I'm a fanatic on energy-efficiency, and you should be, too. Now we had two monument stories, which didn't seem like too many.

Then Ellen Lampert-Gréaux said we should cover the Mid-Hudson Bridge. She had a point: It's a demonstration of the power of LED units in a large outdoor project. Soon after, I heard from Mike Clark about Versailles and Pompeii. How do you say no to that?

A certain pattern was emerging. The coup de grâce came with the Tribute in Light. After the events of September 11 we started to hear about a memorial to the World Trade Center victims that would take the form of two towering beams of light. It finally happened in March — a simple, stunning display of light that gave me chills every time I saw it. It is perhaps the most significant use of light in a public display ever. We certainly weren't going to leave that out.

By then, Ellen was talking about Hoover Dam. There was nothing to do but give in to forces greater than my control. There you have it — what I like to call our most monumental issue ever. If anything proves the importance of lighting design today, it's these projects. They can inspire you with their beauty, but even more than that, they can make you proud to be a part of this industry.