Signed Philippe Petit: "You need dreams to live"
It had never been done before and it will never be done again.
Philippe Petit was born in France in August 13, 1949. In his early years Philippe Felt he was different than other kids. He said he found them boring and he enjoyed being by himself. He was expelled from school on five occasions and by 1966, Petit had left school after refusing to take even the most basic exams. He was emancipated by his parents on his 17th birthday but during this time he had been working on his magic and juggling.
At the age of 16 he took his first steps on a tightrope wire. He loved interacting with the wire so much, and he was so passionate about it, he said, that it was all he wanted to do. Within a year he had taught himself everything that could be done on a tightrope, he said, and he began to look for new challenges.
During a dentist office visit, while looking through a paper, he saw an article that would change his life:(Philippe's words)
Suddenly, I freeze because I have opened a newspaper at a page and I see something magnificent, something that inspire me. I see two towers and the article says one day those towers will be built. They're not even there yet. And when they are, they will become the highest in the world. Now, I need to have that, this little tangible start of my dream, but everybody's watching, but I need that page. And so what I do is under the cover of sneeze, I tear a page, put it under my jacket, and go out. Now, of course I would have a toothache for a week. But what's the pain in comparison that now I have acquired my dream.
In late 1973, Petit traveled to New York City. He spent months studying the almost completed World Trade Center. He began to formulate a plan on how he would one day walk between the two towers. Finally, on August 6, 1974, Petit was ready to implement his covert operation, to pull off the illicit walk. After sneaking past security and spending the whole night preparing his wire, it was time. Just after 7am, on Wednesday, August 7, 1974, as the people of New York walked in the shadows of the newly built twin towers on their way to work, Philippe Petite stepped out on to his wire, now stretched tight between the towers and a quarter mile from the street below. For the next 45 minutes he did the impossible, he performed on his wire as hundreds looked on from below in disbelief. When he finally stepped off his wire he was immediately arrested but he knew he had accomplished what he had set out to do, his dream had become reality.
This incredible work pays tribute to that extraordinary accomplishment. The idea of making the impossible, possible. Framed we have a pre-published manuscript page from "Record Makers and Record Breakers" by Nick Iversen. On this excerpt page, Petite makes two small changes and adds a year notation, and then inscribes his signature, in exquisite turquoise blue ink. Opposite is a photo of Petite from that day, where he is making his way across the wire, during this historic walk, 1,350 feet above the street below. On the photo is a heart felt quote from Petit that best describes why he was compelled to make this walk.
"You need dreams to live. It is as essential as a road to walk on and bread to eat. I would have felt myself dying if this dream would have been taken away from me by reason. The dream was as big as the towers. There was no way it could be taken away from me by authority, by reason, my destiny. It was really anchored to me in such a way that life was not conceivable without doing this."
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