I was gratified to read that our household was not the only one shaken by Saturday night's fireworks extravaganza at the Kennedy Center ["Fireworks Cause Deluge of Panicked Calls in D.C.," front page, Oct. 3]. My 13-year-old daughter was baby-sitting her younger brother in our Northwest home while my husband and I were out. We returned that night to find both children asleep in my son's single bed. We then heard their tearful account of explosions so loud and so strong that our house trembled.

Parents in the metro area work hard to protect their children from many perils: commuter traffic racing through crosswalks, Code Red air-quality warnings, terrorist threat advisories and even occasional sniper fire.

Must we now add the Kennedy Center to this list?




The Kennedy Center fireworks display to kick off its Festival of China was spectacular, but aside from brief mentions in The Post and one in the Kennedy Center's schedule, nothing alerted people to what was going to take place. If the event had been better publicized, people who were disturbed and frightened by the noises might have enjoyed the display instead.

The same thing happened shortly before the Sept. 11 attacks. After a state dinner for Mexican President Vicente Fox, President Bush, to surprise and honor the visiting head of state, had a great display of fireworks on the White House lawn. That took area residents by surprise, too, and calls went out to city officials and the White House.

TV and radio stations and newspapers alert us to road closings related to construction, demonstrations and races. They also should let us know about fireworks so that they do not raise concern in an already locked-down city.