NEW YORK — The two beams of light memorializing the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks and the Twin Towers won't shine this year during an annual tribute in New York due to health and safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, event organizers said.
Michael Frazier, a spokesman for National September 11 Memorial & Museum, said that organizers were worried about the health of workers who would set up the display leading up the 19th anniversary of the terror attacks.
"The world's beloved twin beams of light regrettably will not shine over Lower Manhattan as part of this year's tributes," Frazier said in a statement.
The twin beams first lit up the sky on the 6-month anniversary of the attacks and can be seen each year on Sept. 11, according to the Municipal Art Society of New York, which first produced the tribute. The beams shine up to four miles into the sky and can be seen for miles around the city and surrounding area.
Frazier said an alternative tribute this year will feature blue lights on spires and facades of buildings in Manhattan. The museum hopes to resume the twin beam light display next year for the 20th anniversary, he added.
The museum last month also canceled the annual event during which family members of victims speak. Prerecorded audio of names being read from the museum's "In Memoriam" exhibition will be featured instead.
The 9/11 attacks killed nearly 3,000 people in one day as terrorist-piloted planes flew into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon outside of Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania. Scores of others, including many police and fire first responders, have died since due to complications from diseases caused by the toxins at Ground Zero in New York.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 9/11 NYC Twin Towers light beam displays canceled amid COVID-19