Twin beams of light honoring the victims of the September 11 terror attacks won’t illuminate the New York City skyline this year due to coronavirus concerns — a decision that’s drawing fire from critics.
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum, which organizes the annual “Tribute in Light,” announced the decision on its website Thursday, saying the health risks “were far too great.”
Organizers pointed to the manpower needed to pull off the display, which represents the World Trade Center towers destroyed when hijacked planes slammed into the buildings in 2001. Two terrorist-piloted planes also crashed into the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, killing nearly 3,000 Americans in total.
“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,” museum spokesman Michael 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.”
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News that light tribute had been nixed wasn’t received well by critics who blasted the ”unacceptable” decision.
“As the wife of a surviving member of the [New York City Fire Department] during the September 11th attacks, this is a disgrace,” one Twitter user wrote. “If you can have ‘peaceful protests’ and the MTV music awards, you should be able to find ways to remember those who died on September 11th, 2001.”
“9/11 ‘Tribute in Light’ Poses a Health Risk? Really!” former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik wrote. “There is no greater health risk than that taken on September 11, 2001 by those of us that were there, and those lost.”
Eric Trump, son of President Donald Trump, took aim at New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio for what he called “playing arts and crafts in front of Trump Tower,” referring to a “Black Lives Matter” mural De Blasio helped paint in midtown Manhattan last month.
“But he can’t shine the Tribute Light Memorial at the World Trade Center in memory of 9/11,” Trump wrote.
The “Tribute in Light” cancellation comes weeks after the museum announced it was also canceling the annual reading of 9/11 victims names “out of an abundance of caution,” saying it will instead play recorded readings.
Organizers are also offering an alternative to the light tribute commemorating the 19th anniversary of the terror attacks. This year’s display will feature buildings across the city illuminating their facades and spires in blue, according to the museum’s website.
“In a spirit of unity and remembrance, the city will come together for a ‘Tribute in Lights’ to inspire the world and honor the promise to never forget,” organizers wrote.
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