“Tribute in Light” 9/11 Memorial, Previously Canceled Due to Pandemic, Is Back On


After nearly being canceled due to safety concerns amid the pandemic, a beloved memorial remembering the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001 will go on with help from the governor’s office.

According to The Gothamist, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum cited health risks to the crew in its announcement last Thursday that the annual Tribute in Light—twin beams of brilliant light representing the Twin Towers that fell that day—would not be lit on the 19th anniversary of the attack.

The announcement sparked an understandable uproar among New Yorkers who emphasized the importance of remembering the tragic loss as well as the momentous unity and patriotism the nation experienced in the wake of the attack—especially after enduring a pandemic.

On Saturday, however, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will pay for health personnel to help the museum safely conduct the tribute again this year.

“This year it is especially important that we all appreciate and commemorate 9/11, the lives lost, and the heroism displayed as New Yorkers are once again called upon to face a common enemy,” Cuomo said. “I understand the Museum’s concern for health and safety, and appreciate their reconsideration. The state will provide health personnel to supervise to make sure the event is held safely while at the same time properly honoring 9/11. We will never forget.”

Museum president and CEO Alice M. Greenwald expressed her gratitude for the state’s assistance in continuing the tradition safely.

“This year, its message of hope, endurance, and resilience are more important than ever,” Greenwald said. “In the last 24 hours we’ve had conversations with many interested parties and believe we will be able to stage the tribute in a safe and appropriate fashion.”

Installation of the lights usually takes a crew of about 30 technicians, electricians, and stagehands 10 days before the event. It is comprised of 88 7,000-watt xenon light bulbs placed in two 48-foot squares and can be seen up to 60 miles away.

Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who serves as head of the museum’s board of trustees, said he was grateful there was a way to continue the lights this year.

“Throughout my tenure as Mayor the Tribute in Light was a powerful symbol of New York’s recovery after 9/11,” Bloomberg told AMNY. “I am pleased that once again it will shine this year as a beacon of our city’s resilience.”

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