The nineteenth anniversary of 9/11 ended at dawn as the Tribute in Light faded into a new day. This year’s tribute had even more meaning for many of the people who stood outside to view it.
There was controversy which seems normal in 2020. Several people made comments that just as many people were dying each day from COVID-19 and the memorial should be for everyone. I feel it is a memorial for those who died on 9/11 and every day since.
For those of us who witnessed the attack, or lost friends in the attack, the Tribute in Light is the culmination of a day of agony. After nearly two decades, it feels just as raw. As dusk began and the twin lights grew in brightness against the darkening sky, the conversations around me on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade dropped in volume, like a church service had just begun. It was a city full of people grieving. Yes we have much more to be sad about in this challenging year. As we all gazed at the brilliant towers of light, we each had our own thoughts of what they represent. It felt like souls rising to heaven for me.
I begin every September 11 listening to the reading of the names of those who died during the 9/11 ceremony at Ground Zero. The ringing of the bells triggers each flash-frozen minute in my mind. I can remember it all. It’s better to end the day with the Tribute in Light than the cloud of smoke that stood in place of the twin towers in 2001.
Use the Tribute in Light for what it is. A calming, unique exhibit that honors all those who have died from the attacks on 9/11, and afterwards. Everyone is guaranteed their own perception of the meaning. Include those who died from COVID-19, it’s everyone’s memorial.