Covid-19 has inevitably changed 9/11 memorials this year. Still, people have found ways to make sure that respects can be paid as fully as possible. This will be a chance to remember those so sadly lost, and to mark how people came together amidst the shock of the event. 

9/11 nineteen years on

Nineteen years ago today, 2977 people from all walks of life, ranging from age two to eighty five, lost their lives, in the most serious terrorist attack on US soil since Pearl Harbour. Many thousands more lost their lives since then through illness caused by inhaling debris; in total, more than 43000 people are officially recognised as having suffered a 9/11 related health condition at some point in the intervening years. 

Photo by Spencer Imbrock on Unsplash

The perpetrators had sought to bring out divisions through the devastation.  Instead, the attack brought out widespread banding together, resilience and compassion. 

On that day, survivors went back into the path of danger to help guide others to safety. Fire-fighters and construction workers battled against collapsing buildings and fire to save as many as possible. Volunteers stayed on hand to help however they could. Families have spoken of inspiration still gained today from the loved ones they lost.    

Every year, events take place to commemorate those who died in the attacks, and to mark the efforts of everyone who helped in whatever way they could. 

Tribute in Lights

It has been confirmed that the annual Tribute in Lights will go ahead as usual. Initially, the 9/11 memorial was to be cancelled due to covid-19, but organisers have found a way to minimise the infection risk for those attending. 

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Organisations and businesses in New York City and beyond will light their facades blue in a wide-spanning display of solidarity. This will include the One World Trace Centre, the Empire State Building and billboards in Times Square.  

9/11 Memorial centre reopens with covid-19 precautions

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum holds a commemoration ceremony every year to remember those who lost their lives in the attacks. This morning, they held four moments of silence, corresponding to when each plane hit, and when each tower fell.

From 3pm today, the centre will reopen to the public for the first time since its closure due to the pandemic earlier this year. Inevitably, 9/11 memorials will be changed by covid-19, but the centre is doing its best to honour the occasion while keeping visitors safe.


Schools anniversary webinar

Many parents and teachers wonder how to best speak to their children about 9/11, and the surrounding issues of terrorism and religious extremism.

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Efforts to help open dialogue on the topic include the 9/11 Memorial and Museum-run annual ‘Anniversary in the Schools’ webinar, set to take place on and around the anniversary. of the attacks The webinar includes an on-demand film, and the opportunity to hear personal stories from various people, including a family member of someone who died in the attacks, a Red Cross volunteer and a 9/11 survivor.

9/11 community events and covid-19

A range of commemoration ceremonies have been arranged across the country. Wreaths are being laid and flags will fly at half-mast.

As the covid-19 pandemic continues, the public are welcome to attend their local event, but asked to observe social distancing and face mask rules, in order to prevent further spread of the disease.

At home

Along with following the Memorial events online, there are resources available for those who want to find out more about the events of that day and about the way they affected people.

Resources includes an online timeline of events as they happened, as well as a searchable directory of names on the memorial, along with details about each of the survivors.

There are numerous documentaries, most notably the harrowing but powerful 2002 documentary entitled 9/11. The producers had been expecting to film a normal day in the life of a probationary fire-fighter but ended up capturing the attacks as they unfolded. 

Moved by people’s striking acts of bravery and selflessness, there was an increase in volunteering following 9/11. This reflects Americans’ and New Yorkers’ determination to come together and rebuild in the wake of a national disaster of such proportins. 

“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.” A quote from Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in 2002.

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