However, as the 19th anniversary of the attacks arrives, ceremonies are likely to look different.
To date, more than 6 million Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting community leaders to put in place extra precautions and enhanced safety measures at these annual events. While some communities are moving events online, others are canceling events out of an abundance of caution.
Buffalo Grove is one of many communities planning/canceling 9/11 ceremonies amid the pandemic.
In total, nearly 3,000 people were killed as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In addition to more than 2,500 civilians, 343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers lost their lives. A memorial at the site of the former World Trade Center in New York City honor these victims. There are also a number of efforts to specifically remember first responders, due to the role they played in helping others on this tragic day in our history. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund will be hosting a Facebook live event to pay respect to officers who died; details can be found here. To light a candle in an officer’s memory, please visit this link. The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation promotes yearly memorial stair climb events that honor the memory of those who were lost, and also raises funds for programs that benefit the families of fallen firefighters. More information on this initiative can be found here.
Services held at 9/11 attack sites will also look different this year because of the pandemic. Some have already faced a series of hurdles to go on as planned.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to send state health personnel to New York City to provide supervision during the annual “Tribute in Light” ceremony, a commemoration of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Cuomo said staff will be on hand to “ensure this year’s tribute is held safely.”
Cuomo’s announcement came just days after 9/11 Memorial & Museum officials had nixed the 2020 tribute due to coronavirus concerns.
Now, the focus of the New York City commemoration will be reading the names of victims. Family members will not read the names in person this year; instead, recorded readings from the museum’s In Memoriam exhibition will be used for the ceremony.
In Arlington County, Virginia, located just outside Washington, D.C., the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial remains closed to visitors because of COVID-19 restrictions. Arlington County typically holds an annual remembrance ceremony, which this year will be held virtually. Specific plans for this year’s service will be released the week of Sept. 11, according to county spokesperson Erika Moore.
In Pennsylvania, the National Park Service will hold an abbreviated ceremony at Shanksville. The 20-minute “Moment of Remembrance” is set to begin at 9:45 a.m., without a keynote speaker or musical guests.
The names of each passenger and crew member from Flight 93 will be read aloud with the ringing of the “Bells of Remembrance,” according to the agency’s website.
Both President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden plan to visit Shanksville on Friday. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, will attend Sept. 11 memorial ceremonies in New York this year.
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