Seriously? The city allows hundreds if not thousands to gather in the streets to paint massive political slogans on the pavement and agitate for weeks on end. Suddenly having a few dozen workers outside to install floodlights to celebrate one of the truly unifying events in New York City is the health risk? YGBKM:
New York City’s annual light installation in honor of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has been canceled to help control the spread of the new coronavirus, organizers said Thursday.
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.
Instead of the installation, buildings across New York City will light their facades and spires in blue, according to Michael Frazier, a spokesman for the memorial and museum.
“The world’s beloved twin beams of light regrettably will not shine over lower Manhattan as part of this year’s tributes to commemorate 9/11,” he said in a statement.
The big question here is whether the organizers themselves came to this conclusion, or whether the city or state leaned on them to cancel. So far this morning, reports lay all of this on the organizers themselves. They even went so far as to cancel the traditional public reading of the names of all the 9/11 victims, a very strange decision as it would require far less density than the constant stream of Black Lives Matter protests in NYC and in other cities since the George Floyd homicide at the end of May.
Another organization has stepped in to save that part of the annual commemoration:
The decision to cancel the “Tribute in Light” memorial comes after the museum this year also scrapped the in-person reading of 9/11 victims at the annual Ground Zero ceremony.
But last week, a nonprofit, The Tunnel to Towers Foundation, announced their own separate Lower Manhattan ceremony where select family members of 9/11 victims will be permitted to read the names of their loved ones.
The excuses for allowing mass protests in the time of COVID-19 are that (a) they’re outdoors, (b) many of the attendees wear masks, and (c) the message is too important to discourage. How do those same conditions not apply to the 9/11 tribute lights tradition? In this case, the work would be conducted by no more than dozens of workers, primarily outdoors and presumably following social-distancing and mask protocols. (Why wouldn’t they?) No one questions the message and its unifying importance as well as its quality as an ongoing memorial for nearly 3,000 victims of terrorism … right?
If the organizers made this decision on their own, then perhaps the families of the victims should start working with other organizations. If the city leaned on them to cancel, then voters should consider voting for politicians with better priorities.