In case you haven't heard , the lights that are meant to resemble the twin towers will not shine on this years anniversary of the Sept 11 attacks back in 2001
The two beams of vertical light have traditionally been set up in lower Manhattan in the days leading up to the anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers. But officials at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum said Thursday that they wouldn’t have the installation this year out of fear that the virus could spread among the workers needed to create the display.
The reason , as explained by the lighting contractors who assemble the lights is that Space Cannon, a lighting company from Italy, created the project in 2002. Each year, they send their team of over 30 technicians, electricians and stagehands to the U.S.A. to work for about ten to twenty one days, depending on the daily weather conditions, to install their eighty-eight individual large and high powered lights (44 beams to form each “Tower”) temporarily on top of a garage near Battery Park, about six blocks south of the World Trade Center itself.
They are the primary workers. They also stay on for a week or so after the 11th to carefully un-install everything.
Light America, a company from Nevada, assists by sending some additional technicians and riggers who have studied and learned parts of the proprietary schematics of the lighting setup with the Italians on site. They stay together for two to three weeks, too.
To train people on short notice to do the specific jobs these companies and their highly skilled workers have been doing for almost two decades is not easy .
There’s also a phase of several days just before the 11th during which several local observers located in Brooklyn, Staten Island, New Jersey and uptown Manhattan gather in groups to help make sure that the beams are adjusted accurately.
Getting the workers over from Italy to NYC is quite challenging now. Even if they could, they’d be subject to quarantine for two weeks and if one of them tested positive at any time, the whole crew would go back into quarantine for over ten days.
Knowing these obstacles were facing them, both the company in Italy and the private 9/11 Foundation which sponsors the project agreed that getting the lights done this year would pose too many problems, so they erred on the side of caution and canceled it.
There will still be a televised memorial ceremony from the WTC site that morning, and you can still take time to privately reflect, pray, etc !
The lights will be back in 2021 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of that terrible day, and their presence will be even more meaningful given the reason why they couldn’t appear this year.