New York, NY – Facing intense criticism from angry New York Police Department (NYPD) officers and the family members of victims who died at the Twin Towers, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum announced they won’t cancel the iconic “Tribute in Light” after all.
Numerous organizations stepped up to the plate and said they would create the annual 9/11 “Tribute in Light” when the organization that has traditionally produced it announced its cancellation on Aug. 13 due to the health risks from the pandemic.
The lights are a public art installation that have become an iconic memorial tribute.
The twin beams reach four miles into the sky and are produced using 88 7,000-watt xenon lightbulbs that are positioned into two 48-foot squares that echo the shape and orientation of the Twin Towers, according to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum website.
“This incredibly difficult decision was reached in consultation with our partners after concluding the health risks during the pandemic were far too great for the large crew required to produce the annual Tribute in Light,” the 9/11 Memorial & Museum wrote on Aug. 14. “We hope to resume this iconic tribute for the 20th anniversary.”
Then they explained that in lieu of the twin beams, the city was organizing a Tribute in Lights on buildings across the city.
“In a spirit of unity and remembrance, the city will come together for a ‘Tribute in Lights’ initiative to inspire the world and honor the promise to never forget,” the message read.
The website said the 9/11 Memorial organization had partnered with the city to encourage buildings to light their spires and facades in blue on Sept. 11.
The day after the announcement, Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA) President Ed Mullins bashed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for dropping the ball and said his union would host the tribute, the New York Post reported.
Mullins said de Blasio has failed “to represent the people of this city with his inability to provide a viable alternative to this sacred annual event.”
“He allowed mass protests and riots in the city with no concerns whatsoever about the pandemic,” the union boss said. “The mayor won’t find a way to honor these heroes, but the SBA will pay tribute to all of the fallen victims by arranging for a Tribute in Light. A twin beam of light will shine on the evening of 9/11.”
The same day, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation launched a campaign to save the event and committed to making sure the beams of light shone in 2020, the New York Daily News reported.
Under intense political pressure and facing outrage from the general public on social media, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum announced on Saturday that it had un-cancelled the iconic memorial honoring those who died at the World Trade Center.
“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,” 9/11 Memorial and Museum President and CEO Alice M. Greenwald said in a statement that was released on Aug. 15.
The New York Daily News reported that the leadership of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum had reached out to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for help.
Bloomberg is the chairman of the board of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.
The former mayor responded to the request by reaching into his pocket to make the “Tribute in Light” happen this year, the New York Daily News reported.
“The Tribute in Light [is] a powerful symbol of New York’s recovery after 9/11,” Bloomberg said. “I am pleased that once again it will shine this year.”
The governor said the state would provide the necessary health and supervisory personnel required to make production of the event safe for staff and volunteers, the New York Daily News reported.
“I am glad that we can continue this powerful tribute to those we lost on 9/11 and to the heroism of all New Yorkers,” Cuomo tweeted.
NYS will provide health personnel & supervision so that @Sept11Memorial can mount the Tribute in Light safely.
I am glad that we can continue this powerful tribute to those we lost on 9/11 and to the heroism of all New Yorkers.
We will #NeverForget.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) August 15, 2020
“The twin towers of light … are a visual representation of #NewYorkTough,” he added, the New York Daily News reported. “The virus has taken so much and so many. But now the tribute will continue.”