September 11th, 2020 | Miller Advisors

How annual 9/11 ceremony on anniversary of terror attacks will look different due to COVID

In the days before the annual ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum that serves to remember those who were killed in the terror attacks 19 years ago, there is typically plenty of work that goes into setting up – but that setup looks a bit different this year.

While normal things like speakers will still be present for the reading of names, there will be no stages at the solemn occasion this year. Instead, hand sanitizer stations installed by crews in masks will dot the grounds in Lower Manhattan – a reminder that the COVID pandemic changes even the most solemn of moments.
The museum said it wanted to find a way to balance safety and tradition this year.

“It was, how we could do it safely that became a question for us,” said 9/11 Memorial Museum Director Alice Greenwald. “We’ve always had a stage. And we’ve seen too many examples of when you have a stage , people naturally gather.”

With no stage this year, family members have pre-recorded victims’ names, which will be streamed online Friday morning. Victims’ families can still gather in person at the memorial and hear the names of their loved ones read aloud, as groups will be safely spread out on the plaza’s eight acres. The ringing of bells, signifying each attack on September 11, 2001, will still ring out too, complete with honor guard.

Other members of the public will be allowed on the grounds staring around 3 p.m. until midnight. All other large gathering will be discouraged.

Other changes involve the 9/11 Memorial and Museum itself. It will open Friday for family members after being closed for six months. On Saturday, it will open to the general public, with timed tickets and all social distancing rules required.

COVID concerns at first cancelled The Tribute in Light, the beams of light that soar into the air. But Memorial officials, with state and donor support, have now worked to make sure the production crew is safe. The lights will shine starting Friday around dusk.

“We can integrate that loss and create transformation and beauty out of tragedy … This is about the community coming together and saying, ‘This means something to us so profound, we must have it,'” said Greenwald. “It is an usual year. But what was never in doubt is would we commemorate. That was a given.” 

Article Sources: Gus Rosendale, | Sep 10, 2020
Photo Source: iStock