The National September 11 Memorial & Museum has announced the cancellation of its annual “Tribute in Light” display this year.
Each year, the skies of Manhattan are lit up with two towers of light to honor the thousands who were killed during the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attack. This year, unfortunately, the tradition will not continue.
Citing health and safety concerns in relation to COVID-19, 9/11 Memorial and Museum spokesman Michael Frazier said that it would be too dangerous for the 40 people who are required to work in close proximity to each other to set up and operate the tribute.
Reading of the Names: Cancelled
Prior to the cancellation of the Tribute in Light, the museum had also cancelled the in-person reading of the names of 9/11 victims, which was held annually at Ground Zero. The in-person ceremony will be replaced with a recording, a spokesperson for the museum said.
Backlash From the Community
Talk show host Larry O’Connor took a shot at New York City in a tweet, stating “Give me a f*****g break! There was no fear for the workers used to paint a BLM mural at Trump Tower! NYC makes their priorities known. Duly noted.”
Other citizens replied to his tweet, volunteering to set up the tribute themselves despite the supposed threat of COVID-19. One such tweet read, “It takes about 40 people to set up those lights.
I would volunteer without hesitation to do this. I’m sure thousands would. Do not make the sky over Manhattan be dark. We need the light.”
Nonprofits and Private Businesses to the Rescue
Thankfully, a nonprofit, The Tunnel to Towers Foundation, has decided to hold their own ceremony in which family members of 9/11 victims will be allowed to read the names of their loved ones.
Various businesses, including destination marketing organization NYC & Company, have volunteered to light up their facades and spires in blue to commemorate the 19th anniversary of 9/11.
“In a spirit of unity and remembrance, the city will come together for a ‘Tribute in Lights’ to inspire the world and honor the promise to never forget,” Frazier said.