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The Future of 9/11 Light Tribute Isn’t So Bright

Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images

As we come upon the tenth anniversary of 9/11, nothing has been more inspiring than the twin blue columns of light called the “Tribute In Light”. Now ten years later the future of that light memorial is in question.


We have all seen “The Tribute of Light” – powerful search lights that create a pair blue columns that pierce the sky in roughly the spot where the twin towers once stood.

Eighty eight, 7000 watt lights bulbs make up the twin blue columns,  they will be rolled atop a parking garage a few blocks from the trade center.   A crew of 30 technicians, electricians and stage hands help make the tribute of light ready to be switched on on 9/11.

Each beam must be focused, leveled by hand one at a time and aimed straight at the sky. If any one of them is off by a fraction the effect can be ruined.   Since the lights can’t be adjusted up close spotters from Staten Island, Brooklyn, New Jersey and uptown Manhattan need to call in with adjustments.

Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images

At full power, the lights can be seen for many miles.  The columns themselves are created by the light reflected off tiny dust and moisture particles in the air.

The future is of the tribute isn’t so bright.  There is a sponsor, the Municipal Art Society spends about $500,000 putting on the show. Much of the money comes from donations and grants.  Besides the lights don’t have a permanent home.  It started in Battery Park and now they are on a parking garage.  There have been talks of making space at the World Trade Center but no plan has yet to be finalized.

This year, the Municipal Art Society is soliciting donations from the public.  People can give $10 by texting the word tribute to the number 20222.

This tribute is unique to remembering 9/11,  many people want it to stay after the World Trade Center Site is rebuilt, let’s hope it does.

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