After the possibility that the 9/11 Tribute In Light memorial might not grace our city’s skyline this year, Staten Islanders were thankful that the display went forward.
Twin beans of incredibly bright light penetrated the clouds and beyond once again, in memory of the attacks that left 2,977 people dead. Among those numbers were 412 emergency workers, 343 of whom were firefighters.
The memorial extends more than four miles into the night sky, and can be seen from communities as far as 70 miles from New York City. Powering the dazzling blue beams are eighty-eight 7,000 watt xenon bulbs, arranged in two 48-foot square footprints.
The Carnegie Corporation of New York, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, and Rechler Philanthropy are responsible for making this all possible once again. May we never, ever forget!
This is a collaborative work between the Municipal Art Society and Creative Time, with designers and artists John Bennett, Gustavo Boneverdi, Richard Nash Gould, Julian LaVerdiere, and Paul Myoda, as well as lighting consultant Paul Marantz, behind the temporary memorial. The Tribute in Light is a Michael Ahern Production Services production.
Once dawn breaks, the memorial will again go dark,reminding us of the ephemeral nature of life itself.
This is the nineteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Staten Island lost many residents, and the entire borough, city, and nation was brought together for one brief moment, as we grappled with such a significant loss. The attack punctured our sense of invulnerability, but did not extinguish the light of Freedom.
On this somber day, let us remember the sacrifices made by those who put their fears and selfish desires aside, and ran up into the burning structures, as well as the loved ones left behind.
Those that perpetrated these attacks will not win. The battle is still on, and the terrorists behind this heinous crime should know that love will always defeat hate, and our resolve is yet unbreakable, an iron will tempered in the furnace of hell that NYC was cast into by their cowardly acts.
The following is a statement by president and CEO of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Alice M. Greenwald:
Canceling the Tribute in Light, which will now shine on, was hardly my first choice. And, frankly, knowing how beloved Tribute in Light is, I must admit that we could have, and should have, approached this issue differently.
Our initial decision to suspend Tribute in Light this year was reached after much deliberation, based on a number of factors including the health and well-being of everyone who produces this beautiful tribute.
This year is unlike any other in modern times. COVID-19 has changed the landscape of our lives. In navigating the challenges of responsible stewardship during a time of pandemic, we opted in favor of safety, when sincere concerns were repeatedly expressed by those responsible for the installation of the tribute.
Even so, we accept the high level of public scrutiny and acknowledge the high standards expected of the Memorial and Museum, which is entrusted to preserve the history of 9/11 and to ensure remembrance of the 2,983 innocent souls killed in the 2001 and 1993 terror attacks. Having spent the past 15 years committed to the Memorial and Museum, its mission, and the 9/11 community, I am the last person who would ever do anything that would undermine this sacred privilege.
The Tribute in Light is profoundly inspiring and resonates with meaning for so many, including me. As our chairman, Mike Bloomberg, noted: “Throughout my tenure as mayor, the Tribute in Light was a powerful symbol of New York’s recovery after 9/11.” This year, that message of hope, resilience, and recovery is particularly needed.
And, so we reversed our decision. The sheer volume of calls to shine the Tribute in Light on the 19th anniversary was humbling. There were multiple offers of assistance to help us stage the tribute in a safe and appropriate fashion and mitigate the legitimate anxieties of the production team and technicians. Governor Andrew Cuomo agreed to provide resources, including health personnel, to help ensure the safety of the crew and production staff. We are now able to go forward as a result of this outpouring of concern and good will, with confidence that we are not placing anyone at personal risk.
On the night of September 11, from dusk until dawn, these two beloved beams of light will again shine as beacons of our city’s resilience. And this year, they will be powered by the will of the community.