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Governor Cuomo announces NYC's annual 9/11 light tribute is back on

9/11 light tribute to go on amid pandemic
9/11 light tribute to go on amid pandemic 00:24

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday afternoon that the annual September 11 light installation, during which two columns of light are projected into the night sky from ground zero as a tribute to the victims of the 2001 terror attacks, is back on. Earlier this week, officials announced that the event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

"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," Cuomo tweeted with the announcement.

The governor said that the state will provide health care personnel and supervision in order to ensure the safety of the large crew required to assemble the "Tribute in Light" installation, which features eighty-eight 7,000-watt xenon light bulbs positioned on the roof of a parking garage.

"Honoring our 9/11 heroes is a cherished tradition. The twin towers of light signify hope, resiliency, promise and are a visual representation of #NewYorkTough," Cuomo said, thanking former Mayor Mike Bloomberg for his partnership. "The virus has taken so much and so many. But now the tribute will continue."

The installation beams four miles into the sky each year, typically visible dozens of miles away from downtown Manhattan. But for safety reasons surrounding the pandemic, officials originally decided to cancel it for 2020. 

"'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.'"

Tribute in Light Marks the 18th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks in New York City
The moon passes through the annual Tribute in Light, illuminated on the skyline of lower Manhattan on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York City on September 11, 2019, as seen from Jersey City, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

"We hope to resume this iconic tribute for the 20th anniversary," in 2021, it added.

Instead of the beams, iconic buildings across the city had planned to illuminate their spires and facades with blue lights. Now that the Tribute in Light is back on, it is unclear whether or not the alternative tribute is still happening.

That tribute was set to 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. 

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