9/11 Tribute in Light memorial canceled this year, organizers say, citing COVID-19

 silive.com  08/14/2020 02:05:07   Joseph Ostapiuk | jostapiuk@siadvance.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The annual 9/11 Tribute in Light memorial display will not shine over lower Manhattan this year, organizers announced on Thursday, citing concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19).

This incredibly difficult decision wasreached inconsultationwith our partnersafter concluding the health risks during the pandemic were far too greatfor the large crew required to produce the annualTribute in Light, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum wrote on its website.

We hope to resume thisiconictributefor the 20th anniversary, organizers said.

Instead, a new plan dubbed a Tribute in Lights, in which many iconic New York City buildings light their spires and facades in blue to honor those killed on 9/11, will take the memorials place.

In a spirit of unity and remembrance, the city will come together for a Tribute in Lights initiative to inspire the world and honor the promise to never forget, the organizers wrote.

The decision comes after the annual 9/11 name reading ceremony at Ground Zero was canceled due to the coronavirus.

However, while the official ceremony had been canceled, the Staten Island-based Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a nonprofit that honors fallen 9/11 firefighter Stephen Siller and other victims of the attacks, plans to host a 140-person, in-person reading near Ground Zero that day, the Advance/SILive.com reported.

Siller said he is confident the group can safely host an in-person reading and give 9/11 families the opportunity to honor their loved ones following every possible safety precaution.

All 9/11 families are going to be down there and you cant have somebody come up one person at a time [on stage] and make it safe? Siller said of the 9/11 Memorial and Museums decision to switch to a pre-recorded reading and not allow families to go up on stage. We didnt get that, and thats why we wanted to make sure that we gave that opportunity to families to read the names.

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