On September 11 each year, two mesmerizing columns of light are projected into the night sky from ground zero, replicating the Twin Towers as a tribute to the victims of the 2001 terror attacks. But this year, the installation has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The “Tribute in Light” installation beams four miles into the sky, typically visible dozens of miles away from downtown Manhattan. It requires a large crew working in close proximity to pull off the spectacle, which features eighty-eight 7,000-watt xenon lightbulbs positioned on the roof of a parking garage.
For safety reasons surrounding the pandemic, officials decided to cancel the tribute this year.
“‘Tribute in Light,’ the world’s beloved twin beams of light, will not shine over lower Manhattan as part of this year’s 9/11 commemoration,” the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which oversees the installation, said in a statement this week. “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.'”
“We hope to resume this iconic tribute for the 20th anniversary,” in 2021, it added.
However, there will still be a 9/11 tribute, it will just look a little different. Instead of the beams, iconic buildings across the city plan to illuminate their spires and facades with blue lights.
The tribute will start at dusk on September 11 and last until dawn the following morning, as is customary with the traditional yearly memorial.
Family members of victims of the attack will still gather at the museum’s outdoor memorial this year, with strict social distancing guidelines in place. However, recorded name readings will be played aloud rather than relatives reading the names in person, to limit the length of the ceremony and the crowd that typically gathers.