Blue lights will tower for Sept. 11 tribute

The Tribute in Light is illuminated next to One World Trade Center during events marking the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York September 11, 2012.
REUTERS / Gary Hershorn, File

The two beams of light that since Sept. 11, 2001 replicates the Twin Towers felled by alleged terrorists will again soar into the night-sky in commemoration to the 2,977 fallen victims and the then global status of the world’s tallest buildings.

Back on schedule, the redeeming tradition was announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo who had previously cancelled the ceremonial tribute due to fears of a possible threat of new infected cases of the dreaded COVID-19 virus.

As with many public gatherings, reports were that the risk of exposing workers to unsafe conditions might cause an uptick in new infected cases.

Cancellation seemed a responsible decision to safeguard the health and safety of workers who would have to work in close proximity to prepare for the national tribute.

However, five days after delivering the disappointing news, Gov. Cuomo reversed the decision saying: “Honoring our 9/11 heroes is a cherished tradition.”

Because of that fact, pressure from families of victims, civil servants and others and with assistance from philanthropists, he ensured the state will pick up the tab for health care workers and supervisors as well as secure safety standards according to CDC guidelines.

In a tweet recently he said: “The virus has taken so much and so many. But now the tribute will continue.”

“I am glad that we can continue this powerful tribute to those we lost on 9/11 and to the heroism of all New Yorkers.”

In the reassuring style he applied when New York was considered the epicenter of the pandemic the governor addressed the issue and quickly calmed the fears of dissenters who rebuked him for the cancellation.

“The twin towers of light signify hope, resiliency, promise and are a visual representation of #NewYorkTough,” he said.

He delivered the change of plans via social media and announced the 2020 tribute will again send two towering beams of light from Ground Zero, four miles into the night-sky.

First introduced on the six-month anniversary of the alleged terrorist attack when two commercial airplanes crashed into the Twin Towers on a primary election day, the tribute has become a mainstay for aggrieved families, the city’s frontline workers and residents.

The governor attributed the reversal to a partnership with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg who chairs the National 911 Museum and Memorial.

According to reports, the philanthropist donated funds that will continue the tradition and in addition aid in providing safeguards to protect workers and families susceptible to infection from the virus.

“I am pleased that once again it will shine this year as a beacon of our city’s resilience,” Bloomberg said.

“Throughout my tenure as mayor the Tribute in Light was a powerful symbol of New York’s recovery after 911.”

Before the agreement was reached politicians and numerous elected officials sided with police, firefighters and union leaders to criticize the early decision to cancel the solemn commemoration.

“The Towers of Light have been, and will always be, a symbol showing that New York City and this country cannot be kept down, and will stand strong and proud in the face of any tragedy or disaster,” Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniform Firefighters Association said.

Despite the pandemic which demands the wearing of masks, social distancing and regulated limited crowding he added that the cancellation was “just absolutely unnecessary.”

“The lights are an amazing way for people to remember those who were lost on 9/11,” Ansbro added.

“They’re inspirational.”

“When you walk outside on a September night your eyes are drawn to it. They’re drawn to lower Manhattan. It’s a reminder of who and what was lost. It’s also a reminder that we’re still here, we’re still standing. It’s uplifting.”

Ansbro explained “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.”

One hundred and 40 speakers from family members have been invited to read the honorary roll call.

Look up, across and straight ahead, on Sept. 11, 2020 two beams of illuminated, blue columns will not only provide reminders of a dismal period in New York history but may also inspire optimism that the almost-year-long pandemic days of despair caused by COVID-19 could soon end.

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