NEW YORK — At sundown, two vertical beams of bright blue light shot upward through the darkened New York City sky, evoking the twin towers in an annual tribute visible for miles.
The “Tribute in Light” public art installation first shone six months after the Sept. 11 attacks and has been repeated each anniversary since, with the twin columns reaching up to four miles into the sky from dusk to dawn.
The beams are comprised of 88 xenon light bulbs, each 7,000 watts, positioned into two 48-foot squares on the roof of a parking garage south of the 9/11 Memorial. They can be viewed from a 60-mile radius.
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum presents the display to honor those who were killed and celebrate the spirit of the city.
For the 20th anniversary, buildings throughout New York also planned to light up their facades and rooftops in blue.
The 9/11 anniversary commemoration at ground zero began this morning with a tolling bell and a moment of silence, exactly 20 years after the start of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil.
The memorial stands where the World Trade Center’s twin towers were rammed and felled by hijacked planes.
President Joe Biden, former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, members of Congress, and other dignitaries joined a crowd of victims’ relatives Saturday on the Sept. 11 memorial plaza in New York.
Observances are also taking place at the two other sites where the 9/11 conspirators crashed their hijacked jets: the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The victims and heroes of Flight 93 were commemorated at a ceremony at the site where the plane crashed in a field on Sept. 11, 2001.
President Joe Biden made an appearance, and Vice President Kamala Harris, former President George W. Bush and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf also spoke.
Wolf said the passengers and crew of Flight 93, whose actions are believed to have led the hijackers to abandon their mission of targeting the U.S. Capitol, offered a lasting lesson of courage and hope.
“This story and this place remind us each day what it means to be an American,” said Wolf, a Democrat. “In times of strife, we Americans, we come together. We comfort each other. We protect each other and we stand up for each other. This memorial is a powerful reminder of what we have lost. But it’s also a powerful reminder of the strength of the American spirit.”
Larry Catuzzi, father of Flight 93 passenger Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, said in an interview that he talks to her every day.
“I say something that kind of reminds me of her, and I’ll talk to her. Or something good happens to me and I thank her for her being with me,” said Catuzzi, whose 38-year-old daughter was pregnant when she perished.
The family started a foundation in her name that has distributed college scholarships to more than 100 girls, funded three neonatal units and built a park in Houston memorializing the victims of Flight 93.
Biden was scheduled to pay respects at all three places, and former President George W. Bush spoke at the Pennsylvania ceremony.