After a decision was announced by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum to cancel its annual Tribute in Light event to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, New Yorkers quickly spoke up, calling for the decision to be reversed.
“The cancellation of the 9/11 Trib- ute in Light Memorial is a disgraceful embarrassment to the memory of those who perished, their families, this state and this country,” said Brookhaven councilman Dan Panico. “It is absurd to declare that outdoor xenon light boxes cannot be wired together and turned on and off safely, as construction sites have continued safely for months.”
“While I understand these are unusual times, I believe it would be a mistake and a dishonor to cancel the Tribute in Light,” said NYS Sen. Monica Martinez. “Although an alternative has been suggested for other buildings across the city, I believe such a plan would be a poor substitute for the Tribute in Light.”
Shortly after the announcement was made, the nonprofit Towers to Tunnels Foundation, which honors the memory of firefighter Stephen Siller, who lost his life serving on 9/11, decided to host their own independent ceremony, which they said could be done safely. The ceremony would project lights and include the reading of the names of all who perished on 9/11.
Finally, on Saturday, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum reversed its decision, saying they received more resources to make sure the event would happen in a safe manner.
“For the last eight years, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum has produced the Tribute in Light, and we recognize the profound meaning it has for so many New Yorkers. This year, its message of hope, endurance, and resilience is more important than ever,” said museum CEO Alice Greenwald in a statement. “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.”
Greenwald added that chairmen of the event, former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, had committed more resources and personnel to the event.
“I understand the museum’s concern for health and safety, and appreciate their reconsideration,” Cuomo said in a statement. “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. We will never forget.”
Frank Siller, CEO of the Towers to Tunnels Foundation, said in a letter that it took “an outcry of 9/11 families, America, and the Towers to Tunnels Foundation’s decision to assume these powerful remembrance traditions, for their leadership to recognize it could indeed be done safely.”