‘Tribute in light’ honors lives lost on 9/11

9/11 Anniversary

NEW YORK (NewsNation) — Every year, beams of lights shine four miles into the New York City sky, honoring every life lost on September 11, 2001, and those who have died since due to related illnesses.

One by one, switches are manually flipped to illuminate the night sky. The lights are so bright, that they can be seen from close to 60 miles away.

“It is about memory and the loss of the buildings, and it’s about the souls of the people and going up to the heavens,” said Alice Greenwald, the president and CEO of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

The commemorative public art installation, “Tribute in Light,” was first presented six months following the 9/11 attacks. The production team said to pull off the tribute, it uses the amount of power of an entire New York City apartment building. The lights stay lit from dusk to dawn on the night of Sept. 11.

“Assembled on the roof of the Battery Parking Garage south of the 9/11 Memorial, the twin beams reach up to four miles into the sky and are comprised of eighty-eight 7,000-watt xenon lightbulbs positioned into two 48-foot squares, echoing the shape and orientation of the Twin Towers,” an excerpt described the tribute on the museum’s website.

For the second year in a row, the 9/11 Museum & Memorial has encouraged buildings throughout the city to also light their facades and rooftops to create an extension of the tribute in light. Specifically, the city’s iconic buildings will be illuminated in a striking sky blue — a color that holds special significance for the organization, and the city as a whole.

Sky blue, or “Memorial Blue” as the color is also referred to, symbolizes the city’s (and the world’s) general perception of the sky in the morning just prior to the attacks. In fact, the cloudless skies above NYC on 9/11 had been described as what pilots and meteorologists call “severe clear,” meaning visibility conditions were seemingly infinite, according to the National 9/11 Museum & Memorial.

This year, dozens of iconic buildings, landmarks and institutions will again be partaking in the “Tributes in Light” event, itself an extension of the longstanding (and perhaps more recognizable) “Tribute in Light” art installation in Lower Manhattan, which form two columns of white light shining up the heavens.

Participants in the tribute include famous buildings such as the Empire State Building, Bloomberg L.P., the One World Trade Center and many more.

“It gave this city a sense of hope. A sense of something that would be transcendent out of this terrible moment,” Greenwald said.

The Museum is also encouraging folks to “Remember the Sky” by sharing photos of the sky to social media on Sept. 11, to help ensure that younger generations never forget the significance of the date.

“Through creating a shared moment of active remembrance together, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum aims to help spur conversation on social media platforms and elsewhere that can serve as a bridge between memory and history for the tens of millions of young people who did not live through that day that changed our world forever,” the museum has written of the campaign.

Those wishing to learn more about the commemorations taking place on 9/11 can visit 911memorial.org for additional information.

Nexstar Media Wire and WPIX contributed to this report.

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