The annual light-installation tribute to the fallen Twin Towers is back on schedule after being canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, the 9/11 memorial and museum announced Saturday.
The increased costs to produce the installation safely are to be offset by New York State, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the entity formed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and charged with rebuilding, according to a news release from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum's president and chief executive, Alice M. Greenwald.
“This year, its message of hope, endurance, and resilience are more important than ever,” the statement said, adding that the organization’s leaders “believe we will be able to stage the tribute in a safe and appropriate fashion.”
Called Tribute in Light, two blue beams had shone skyward at night, beginning first on the six-month anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center that killed nearly 3,000 people after jetliners hijacked by al-Qaida terrorists flew the planes into the towers, and then every year since.
“Assembled on the roof of the Battery Parking Garage south of the 9/11 Memorial, the twin beams reach up to four miles into the sky and are ... [composed] of eighty-eight 7,000-watt xenon lightbulbs positioned into two 48-foot squares, echoing the shape and orientation of the Twin Towers,” according to the museum and memorial website, which says the installation can be seen from a 60-mile radius of lower Manhattan.
In a news release, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the state would 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."
“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's statement said.
News that the tribute would be resuscitated came after an uproar over the cancellation, including by City Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island), who wrote a letter to President Donald Trump, signed by nine other council members, asking that the federal government “help save” the tradition.
“This tradition serves as a comforting and reliable memorial and to end it, especially at the last moment with such a palpable sense of abandonment, would be a misguided and unforgivable lapse in judgement,” said the letter, which was also sent to Bloomberg.