9/11 light tribute in New York City to go on amid pandemic – NBC News
The annual light display honoring victims of 9/11 in New York City will go on after all, organizers said Saturday, after concerns about workers’ safety during the pandemic threatened to cancel the tribute.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state would provide the resources needed to ensure the health and safety of workers helping to produce the tribute, and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would also help offset the additional costs.
The announcement came days after the National September 11 Memorial & Museum canceled the “Tribute in Light” over concerns the coronavirus might spread among crews creating twin columns of light to represent the World Trade Center in the Manhattan sky.
“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,” said Alice M. Greenwald, president and CEO of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, in a statement.
Cuomo said the pandemic would not stop the tribute to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Bloomberg said he was also on board with the plan.
“Throughout my tenure as Mayor the Tribute in Light was a powerful symbol of New York’s recovery after 911,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “I am pleased that once again it will shine this year as a beacon of our city’s resilience.”
In July, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum told supporters in a letter that an annual ceremony in which names of the victims are read would be done via recording. It also said access to the museum on Sept. 11 would likely only be offered to victims’ families.
On Thursday a museum spokesman, citing the safety of workers, told NBC New York it initially planned to eschew the annual lights in favor of an alternative display that would include blue lighting for select buildings in Manhattan.
On Friday the nonprofit Tunnel to Towers Foundation said on Facebook it was “doing everything in its power to make sure that the Towers of Light will once again be illuminated.”
Jay Varela and The Associated Press contributed.