First responders call for 9/11 Tribute in Light to be restored
There are growing calls to restore the 9/11 "Tribute in Light" that was canceled over coronavirus concerns.
The twin rays of light that shine into the sky in tribute were called off by the National September 11th Memorial and Museum over concerns about the health risks to those who set up the display. Instead, spires and building facades across the city will be illuminated in blue.
Former FDNY firefighter Michael O’Connell, a 9/11 first responder, says he is outraged over the decision.
"Those two lights represent what those two towers stood for. And they represent so much more because of our brothers and sisters who died running into those buildings," he said.
John Feal, an advocate for fellow first responders, says the annual ceremony at 9/11 Memorial Park in Nesconset will still go on and the name of fallen first responders will be read aloud. The names are usually read aloud at Ground Zero but that, too, was canceled this year.
"My heart bleeds for those who are angry and frustrated and aren't going to be able to listen to their loved one’s names read on the 11th or see those lights shoot into the sky,” said Feal.
Feal says Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is letting him use the street adjacent to the park, where people can stand, wear masks and socially distance during the event. He says the ceremony will take place on Saturday, Sept. 12.
He hopes organizers in the city will reconsider their decision.
The nonprofit Tunnel to Towers says it will hold its own ceremony on Sept. 11 in Manhattan, where they will read the names of those who died in the attack.
Nassau lawmakers say they believe with proper precautions in place the display can go on. They suggest volunteers operate the memorial if the current crew is not comfortable.