It’s back on: Official ‘Tribute in Light’ will light up New York skyline on 9/11 after uproar

The 2016 Tribute in Light, as seen from the ground in Battery Park City. (File photo/amNewYork Metro)

After public backlash over its reported cancellation, the Tribute in Light will once again be illuminated in Lower Manhattan on the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks next month.

The announcement came Saturday afternoon following conversations between Alice Greenwald, president of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Governor Andrew Cuomo, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. 

The twin beams of light, representing the former Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, will return to the New York skyline after the state provide additional resources to further protect the crew responsible for setting up the light display. 

The agreement also offsets the museum’s costs for additional required protections for the workers involved.

On Thursday, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum canceled the Tribute in Light, citing logistical difficulties in ensuring the safety of the crew involved during the COVID-19 pandemic. That sparked an uproar from New Yorkers who insisted that the annual tribute continue.

“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,” Greenwald said in an Aug. 15 statement. “This year, its message of hope, endurance, and resilience are more important than ever. 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.”

Cuomo said he understood the museum’s “concern for health and safety, and appreciate their reconsideration” of its initial decision.

“This year it is especially important that we all appreciate and commemorate 9/11, the lives lost, and the heroism displayed as New Yorkers are once again called upon to face a common enemy,” the governor said. “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.”

Bloomberg, who chairs the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, also expressed gratitude that the tribute will return after all.

“Throughout my tenure as Mayor the Tribute in Light was a powerful symbol of New York’s recovery after 9/11,” Bloomberg said. “I am pleased that once again it will shine this year as a beacon of our city’s resilience.”

The Tribute in Light is set up on the roof of a parking garage in Battery Park City, a short distance from the World Trade Center site. The twin beams have been illuminated on the New York City skyline for the past 18 years to honor the memory of those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

After reports of the tribute’s cancellation surfaced this week, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families of 9/11 victims and first responders, spearheaded a campaign to provide a similar light display tribute.

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