Coronavirus: NYC’s 9/11 ‘Tribute in Light’ back on after initially being canceled

NEW YORK — UPDATE: The National September 11 Memorial & Museum’s Tribute in Light will take place after all, after Gov. Cuomo pledged government resources to support the safety of those involved in the installation, The New York Times reported.


The museum had announced that the 2020 tribute would be canceled due to coronavirus concerns.

Read the original report below.

The annual light installation that honors the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City was canceled due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, organizers said Thursday.

The two beams of vertical light, called the Tribute in Light, rise annually from the area near ground zero, reaching upward and recreating the shape of the World Trade Center’s twin towers, which were destroyed by terrorist attacks, The New York Times reported. Nearly 3,000 people were killed Sept. 11, 2001, when two hijacked planes crashed into the buildings.

The lights extend 4 miles into the sky and are visible from a radius of up to 60 miles, the newspaper reported.

According to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, website, the twin beams are comprised of 88 7,000-watt xenon light bulbs positioned into two 48-foot squares. It takes workers nearly a week to set up the lights, Scott Campbell of Michael Ahern Production Services, which produces the event, told the Times.

The cancellation follows the scrubbing of the annual reading of the victims’ names, WPIX reported.

According to museum officials, this year’s event was canceled because officials feared the virus could spread among the 40 stagehands and electricians who set up the display, The Wall Street Journal reported. Instead, buildings across New York City will light their facades and spires in blue, Michael Frazier, a spokesperson for the memorial and museum, told the newspaper.

“The world’s beloved twin beams of light regrettably will not shine over lower Manhattan as part of this year’s tributes to commemorate 9/11,” Frazier said in a statement. “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 lights, powered by temporary generators, have traditionally been turned on at dusk Sept. 11 and shine until dawn Sept. 12, the Times reported.

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