President Donald Trump on Friday vowed that America will always ‘rise up’ and ‘fight back’ when under attack as he paid tribute to the 40 people who died on United Flight 93 when they brought down the plane in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
In a sobering and patriotic speech at the national memorial, Trump praised the ’40 towering patriots’ who he said ‘took charge and changed the course of history forever’ as al Qaeda hijackers were flying the plane toward Washington.
‘The heroes of Flight 93 are an everlasting reminder that no matter the danger, no matter the threat, no matter the odds, America will always rise up, stand tall, and fight back,’ the president said.
‘The only thing that stood between the enemy and a deadly strike at the heart of American democracy was the courage and resolve of 40 men and women.’
‘Our sacred task, our righteous duty, and our solemn pledge, is to carry forward the noble legacy of the brave souls who gave their lives for us 19 years ago,’ he said.
‘In their memory, we resolve to stand united as one American nation, to defend our freedoms – to uphold our values – to love our neighbors – to cherish our country – to care for our communities – to honor our heroes – and to never forget.’
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stood together during a ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial, remembering those killed when the hijacked flight crashed into an open field on September 11, 2001
The president paid tribute to the 40 Americans who died on United Flight 93 when they brought down the plane in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania before al-Qaeda hijackers could reach Washington
During his speech, Trump said: ‘Our sacred task, our righteous duty, and our solemn pledge, is to carry forward the noble legacy of the brave souls who gave their lives for us 19 years ago’
Mourners gathered for a ceremony commemorating the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
While Trump spoke at the site’s morning memorial ceremony, Democratic rival Joe Biden was to visit later in the day
Donald Trump lowers his head as he sits beside wife Melania at the ceremony held in Shanksville on Friday
Just outside Shanksville is the 2,200-acre Flight 93 National Memorial Park, which marks the spot where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field (pictured) on September 11, 2001, killing all 40 civilians and four al-Qaeda hijackers on board
Nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Pictured: The World Trade Center attack from Astoria, Queens
After he spoke, he and first lady Melania Trump laid a wreath at the Flight 93 Memorial, which contains the names of those who died. A bag piper played ‘Amazing Grace.’
During his remarks, the president also paid tribute to the members of the military that lost their lives in the wake of the terrorists attacks.
‘More than 7,000 Military Heroes have laid down their lives since 9/11 to preserve our freedom,’ Trump said.
‘No words can express the summit of their glory or the infinite depth of our gratitude. But we will strive every single day to repay our immeasurable debt and prove worthy of their supreme sacrifice.’
Trump also offered words to the unit the country on its day of mourning.
‘We were united by our conviction that America was the world’s most exceptional country, blessed with the most incredible heroes, and that this was a land worth defending with our very last breath. It was a unity based on love for our families, care for our neighbors, loyalty to our fellow citizens, pride in our flag, gratitude for our police and first responders, faith in God – and a refusal to bend our will to the depraved forces of violence, intimidation, oppression and evil,’ he said.
‘When terrorists raced to destroy the seat of our democracy, the 40 of flight 93 did the most American of things, they took a vote and then they acted,’ Trump added.
Trump’s visit kicked off a day of memorial services expected to take place at the memorial sites of the 9/11 attacks in Pennsylvania, New York City and at the Pentagon in Washington, as well as across the country.
Although the country will be focused on the commemorations, the Shanksville events will be of great political significance for both candidates at the battleground state
A US Park Police officer guards a field during a ceremony commemorating the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
Mounted police officers sit outside the Visitor’s Center at the National Memorial before a memorial service attended by President Donald Trump in Shanksville
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk with Ed Root and his wife Nancy to lay a wreath
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump returned to the White House in Washington shortly after attending a 9/11 memorial service in Pennsylvania
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is expected to visit the Shanksville memorial later in the afternoon, after attending the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s annual commemoration at Ground Zero in New York, along with Vice President Mike Pence.
The president and first lady Melania Trump also observed a moment of silence aboard Air Force One at 8.46am, marking the time the first plane hit the World Trade Center 19 years ago.
It was a different display in Lower Manhattan at the Ground Zero ceremony, where public officials were not part of the program. Biden nonetheless consoled family members in the audience.
While Trump and Biden’s visit will not overlap, Pence and Biden’s did. In a rare moment of detente, Biden was seen approaching Pence after arriving at the ceremony and tapping him on the shoulder to say hello.
Wearing masks, the current and former vice president then shared an elbow bump – the popular COVID-era handshake replacement – as did Biden and second lady Karen Pence.
Although the candidates and country will be focused on the commemorations, the political significance of their visits to Shanksville is hard to ignore, with Pennsylvania being a crucial battleground state.
In New York City, Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden and wife Jill, stood alongside Governor Andrew Cuomo during a pre-recorded reading of the names ceremony on Friday
Biden’s visit to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s annual commemoration at Ground Zero in New York, overlapped with that of Vice President Mike Pence. The former VP was seen greeting Pence with an elbow bump
Pence and his wife, Karen, read Bible passages after visiting the National September 11 Memorial on Friday
Mourners pause at the north reflecting pool as flowers are placed in the names of the dead at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum on Friday
Biden however, insisted that he would steer clear of politics on a national day of mourning.
‘I’m not gonna make any news today. I’m not gonna talk about anything other than 9/11,’ he told reporters. ‘We took all our advertising down, it’s a solemn day, and that’s how we’re going to keep it, OK?’
Victims’ relatives gathered for split-screen remembrances, one at the September 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner, set up by a separate organization.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation objected to the memorial’s decision to forgo a longstanding tradition of having relatives read the names of the dead, often adding poignant tributes.
Memorial leaders said they made the change as a coronavirus-safety precaution on the 19th anniversary of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil.
At the September 11 Memorial and Museum, mourners stood silently as they listened to a pre-recorded reading of the names – a plan that organizers felt would avoid close contact at a stage but still allow families to remember their loved ones at the place where they died.
But some felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact.
President Trump and first lady Melania paused for a moment of silence aboard Air Force One as they arrived at the airport in Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Trump (pictured boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland) did not attend the Pentagon ceremony for the first time in his presidency
The Trumps traveled to Shanksville to mark the 19th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. The two sat quietly during the memorial service as the name of each person who died was read aloud with a bell striking after each one
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation arranged its own, simultaneous ceremony a few blocks away, saying there was no reason that people couldn’t recite names while keeping a safe distance.
Reverence for the dead ‘requires that we read these names out loud, in person, every year,’ said foundation chair Frank Siller, whose brother Stephen was a firefighter.
The readers stood at podiums that were wiped down between each person.
Biden offered condolences to a woman he spotted crying in the crowd of hundreds, Amanda Barreto, who lost her aunt and godmother in the attacks.
Barreto, 27, said Biden ‘wanted to let me know to keep the faith’ and ‘wanted me to say strong,’ telling her he understood what it meant to lose a loved one. His first wife and their daughter died in a 1972 car crash, and his son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015.
Biden didn’t speak at the ceremony, which has a longstanding custom of not allowing politicians to make remarks.
He also told the reporters traveling with him what the day means to him: ‘It means I remember all my friends that I lost.’
‘It takes a lot of courage for someone that lost someone to come back today,’ Biden continued. ‘I know from experience, losing my wife, my daughter, my son, you relive it, the moment as if it’s happening. It’s hard.
‘It’s a wonderful memorial, but it’s hard. It just brings you back to the moment it happened, no matter how long, how much time passes. So I admire the families who come.’
From left, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Joe Biden, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Vice President Mike Pence stand during the national anthem at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum
Lorna O’Hara holds a poster of her cousin, Brian Bilcher, a New York City firefighter who died on Sept. 11, 2001, during the attacks at the World Trade Center, before a ceremony organized by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation
A mourner brushes water over the inscribed names of the deceased with his fingers during the memorial service
People bow their heads during the 9/11 memorial service at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum during the 19th anniversary of the terror attacks
TRUMP’S FULL SPEECH AT THE AT THE FLIGHT 93 NATIONAL MEMORIAL
Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you, David, very much. It’s a great honor to be with you. Nineteen years ago, on this day, at this very hour, on this field, 40 brave men and women triumphed over terror and gave their lives in defense of our nation. Their names and their stories are forever inscribed on the eternal roll call of American heroes. Today, we pay tribute to their sacrifice, and we mourn deeply for the nearly 3,000 precious and beautiful souls who were taken from us on September 11th, 2001. To the family members of Flight 93: Today, every heartbeat in America is wedded to yours. Your pain and anguish is the shared grief of our whole nation. The memory of your treasured loved ones will inspire America for all time to come. The heroes of Flight 93 are an everlasting reminder that no matter the danger, no matter the threat, no matter the odds, America will always rise up, stand tall, and fight back.
To every 9/11 member all across this nation: The First Lady and I come to this hallowed ground deeply aware that we cannot fill the void in your heart or erase the terrible sorrow of this day. The agony renewed, the nightmare relived, the wounds reopened, the last treasured words played over and over again in your minds. But while we cannot erase your pain, we can help to shoulder your burden. We promise that unwavering love that you so want and need, support, devotion — and the very special devotion — of all Americans. On that September morning, when America was under attack, the battle turned in the skies above this field. Soon after taking off from Newark, New Jersey, radical Islamic terrorists seized control of United 93. Other hijacked planes struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center, and then the South Tower, and then the Pentagon. The terrorists on Flight 93 had a fourth target in mind.
It was called: our nation’s capital. They were just 20 minutes away from reaching their sinister objective. The only thing that stood between the enemy and a deadly strike at the heart of American democracy was the courage and resolve of 40 men and women — the amazing passengers and crew of Flight 93. Donald and Jean Peterson were grandparents traveling to vacation in California. Deora Bodley was a student headed back to college. Richard Guadagno was returning from celebrating his grandmother’s 100th birthday. Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas was three months pregnant with her first child. Every passenger and crewmember on the plane had a life filled with love and joy, friends and family, radiant hopes and limitless dreams. When the plane was hijacked, they called their families and learned that America was also under attack.
Then they faced the most fateful moment of their lives. Through the heartache and the tears, they prayed to God, they placed their last calls home, they whispered the immortal words, ‘I love you.’ Today, those words ring out across these sacred grounds, and they shine down on us from Heaven above. When terrorists raced to destroy the seat of our democracy, the 40 of Flight 93 did the most American of things: They took a vote, and then they acted. Together, they charged the cockpit, they confronted the pure evil, and in their last act on this Earth, they saved our capital. In this Pennsylvania field, the 40 intrepid souls of Flight 93 died as true heroes. Their momentous deeds will outlive us all.
In the days and weeks after 9/11, citizens of all faiths, backgrounds, colors, and creeds came together, prayed together, mourned together, and rebuilt together. The song ‘God Bless America’ became a rallying cry for the nation. We were united by our conviction that America was the world’s most exceptional country, blessed with the most incredible heroes, and that this was a land worth defending with our very last breath. It was a unity based on love for our families, care for our neighbors, loyalty to our fellow citizens, pride in our great flag, gratitude for our police and first responders, faith in God, and a refusal to bend our will to the depraved forces of violence, intimidation, oppression, and evil. In New York, Arlington, and Shanksville, people raced into the suffocating smoke and rubble. At Ground Zero, the world witnessed the miracle of American courage and sacrifice. As ash rained down, police officers, first responders, and firefighters ran into the fires of hell. On that day, more than 400 first responders gave their lives, including 23 New York City police officers, 37 Port Authority workers, and 343 New York City firefighters.
Today, we honor their extraordinary sacrifice and every first responder who keeps America safe. With us today is David DeMato, a retired Chicago police officer and a current officer of the Navy Reserves. On 9/11, he drove from Chicago to Ground Zero. As David says, ‘While the sights and smells of working at Ground Zero will forever be etched in my mind, what is more profound is the way this country came together afterwards. The police officers and firemen were revered as the heroes they truly are; the military was appreciated in a manner not seen in decades; and common people found new meaning in values like friendship, kindness, and selflessness.’ Thank you, David. Such beautiful words. And thank you to every member of law enforcement who risks their lives to ensure our safety and uphold our peace. This morning, we also remember the 183 people who were killed in the attack on the Pentagon and the remarkable service members who crawled straight through the raging blaze to rescue their comrades. We express our undying loyalty to the nearly 6 million young men and women who have enlisted in the United States armed forces since September 11th, 2001. More than 7,000 military heroes have laid down their lives since 9/11 to preserve our freedom.
No words can express the summit of their glory or the infinite depth of our gratitude. But we will strive every single day to repay our immeasurable debt and prove worthy of their supreme sacrifice. America will never relent in pursuing terrorists that threaten our people. Less than one year ago, American warriors took out the savage killer and leader of ISIS, Al-Baghdadi. Soon after, our warriors ended the brutal reign of the Iranian butcher who murdered thousands of American service members. The world’s top terrorist, Qasem Soleimani, is dead. Here in Shanksville, this community locked arms and hearts in the wake of tragedy. With us today is Chuck Wagner, a heavy equipment operator who lives just a few miles away. Very soon after the attack, Chuck helped search for the black box. He was so changed by what he experienced that he joined with several members of his church to become what they call ‘Ambassadors’ for the 40 men and women on Flight 93. Chuck and his neighbors learned about each person, cared for their families, and each day, rain or shine, they took shifts standing vigil over their final resting place. Long before this place was a national memorial, back when it was marked by a simple wooden cross, Chuck and his fellow Ambassadors were always here waiting to tell visitors about those we lost. Nineteen years later, Chuck says his life is devoted to three things: his family, his church, and preserving the memory of the men and women of Flight 93.
To Chuck, his wife Jayne — (applause) — thank you very much. Thank you very much. To Chuck and his wife Jayne, thank you so much for being here. And to the over 40 Ambassadors with us today, please stand and receive America’s thanks. And this is a very deep thanks. Please. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Also with us is Marine veteran Jason Thomas, from Long Island. On September 11th, Jason had just retired from the Marines. But he immediately put back on his uniform and raced into the nightmare of ash and debris. At Ground Zero, he found a fellow Marine, Dave Karnes. Together, they began to call out: ‘United States Marines! United States Marines! If you can hear us, yell, tap. Do whatever you can do. We’re the United States Marines.’ Soon they heard a shout for help. Two police officers were trapped beneath 20 feet of rubble. Jason and Dave dug for hours on end knowing that, at any moment, the wreckage could come down on them, crushing them alive. At one point, someone told Jason to stop. Jason replied, ‘I’m a Marine. I don’t go back. I go forward.’ That day, Jason helped save the lives of those two officers. For years, Jason said nothing about what he did on 9/11. He did not even tell his five children. But when he saw the rescue recounted on TV, he decided to meet those officers.
One of them gave him a gift: a steel cross made from a beam that Jason helped lift to free them from the hell on Earth. As Jason said about the cross, ‘It means a lot. It’s a symbol of what we are as Americans. Because that day, we all came together and stood as a nation, as Americans. It didn’t matter what race you were, what religion you were. It didn’t matter. We all came together to help one another. I’d die for this country. I’d die for this country.’ Jason, thank you very much for bearing witness to the character of our nation. Jason, thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you, Jason. The men and women of Flight 93 were mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives. Nothing could have prepared them for the dreadful events of that morning.
But when the moment came, when history called, they did not hesitate, they did not waver. Forty towering patriots rose up, took charge, made their stand, turned the tide, and changed the course of history forever. Our sacred task, our righteous duty, and our solemn pledge is to carry forward the noble legacy of the brave souls who gave their lives for us 19 years ago. In their memory, we resolve to stand united as one American nation, to defend our freedoms, to uphold our values, to love our neighbors, to cherish our country, to care for our communities, to honor our heroes, and to never, ever forget. Thank you. God bless you. God bless the heroes of Flight 93. God bless all of the families. 9/11 — we’ll never forget. God bless you all, and God bless America. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Pence went on to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation ceremony, where he read the Bible’s 23rd Psalm, and his wife, Karen, read a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
‘For the families of the lost and friends they left behind, I pray these ancient words will comfort your heart and others,’ said the vice president, drawing applause from the crowd of hundreds.
In short, the anniversary of 9/11 is a complicated occasion in a maelstrom of a year, as the U.S. grapples with a health crisis, searches its soul over racial injustice and prepares to choose a leader to chart a path forward.
Still, families say it’s important for the nation to pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the trade center, at the Pentagon in Washington and near Shanksville on September 11, 2001 – shaping American policy, perceptions of safety and daily life in places from airports to office buildings.
Around the country, some communities canceled 9/11 commemorations because of the pandemic, while others went ahead, sometimes with modifications.
Vice President Mike Pence greeted firefighters assembled at FDNY Ladder 10 Engine 10 near the 9/11 Memorial on Friday
The Pentagon’s observance was so restricted that not even victims families could attend, though small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day.
The National Park Service, which co-hosts the annual Flight 93 memorial event in Pennsylvania, had originally said it was planning an abbreviated ceremony this year to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, with no keynote speaker or musical guests.
But after Biden and then the White House announced their plans to visit, the agency’s website was updated to reflect a new schedule that included remarks from Trump and the secretary of the interior.
None of the appearances featured prominent political showmanship, though the ceremonies were closely followed by the media and gave the candidates what political scientist Robert Shapiro dubbed a chance to ‘show their leadership and empathy.’
The choice of Trump and Biden to both head to Pennsylvania, a vital election battleground state, illustrates the ‘obvious calculations’ their advisors have made, the Columbia University scholar said.
In 2016, the 9/11 memorial events became a flashpoint in the presidential campaign after then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton abruptly left the Ground Zero ceremony and was seen stumbling as she tried to get into a van.
Trump, who spoke repeatedly of that during the campaign, also spent the day in New York and paid his own visit to the memorial in Lower Manhattan.
Friday was Trump’s second time observing the anniversary in Shanksville, where he made remarks in 2018. Biden spoke at the memorial’s dedication in 2011, when he was vice president.
Planned 9/11 military flyover at 2,500ft over Hudson River is CANCELED following outrage from critics who called the idea ‘tasteless’ and ‘insensitive’
The NYC Emergency Management system announced an F-18 jet was expected to conduct a flyover near the Verrazzano Bridge Friday in a tribute to victims of the 9/11 attacks
A military flyover scheduled to take place on the Hudson River on the 19th anniversary of the September 11th attacks was canceled last minute on Friday, following backlash from critics who slammed the idea as ‘tasteless’ and ‘insensitive.’
The New York City Emergency Management system on Thursday announced an F-18 jet was expected to conduct a flyover near the Verrazzano Bridge at 3.30pm on Friday in a tribute to the victims of 9/11.
The aircraft was due to fly over the river at an altitude of about 2,500 feet, according to a statement posted on Twitter.
The plans for the display however, quickly drew criticism on social media with many slamming the event as ill-conceived.
Among them was Brandon Borrman, Twitter’s VP of global communications, who said the event was tone-deaf.
‘Granted, I no longer live in NY, but this seems like a really bad idea, verging on completely tasteless,’ Brandon Borrman, Twitter’s VP of global communications, tweeted in response.
Critics said the idea to have a low-flying jet over Manhattan on the day the nation will pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people was ‘insensitive’ to the family of victims.
Staten Island Rep. Max Rose also replied to the tweet saying: ‘Are you out of your mind? Cancel this immediately.’
Several users echoed his sentiments, with one woman adding: ‘Why in the world would anyone decide to have a fly over in NYC on September 11th? This is not a tribute, it is extremely insensitive especially to the families of those who were murdered in the Twin Towers that awful and horrific day.’
In a statement to DailyMail.com, a spokesman for the Mayor’s Office said Mayor Bill de Blasio was not informed about the plans for the flyover.
‘The mayor wasn’t aware of the flyover, and frankly it’s inappropriate. He looks forward to thanking our heroes and honoring those we’ve lost at the ceremony this morning,’ the spokesperson said.
The office later confirmed in a follow up statement that the event had been scrapped after the city formally asked the Department of Defense not to proceed with the flyover.
Earlier on Friday, President Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, were both traveling to rural Pennsylvania for the memorial service.
Mourners gathered at Ground Zero Friday morning to remember those who were killed in the terror attacks 19 years ago
9/11 lights shone out across America despite coronavirus restrictions which almost caused this years commemorations to be cancelled
Light tributes to September 11 victims shone across America overnight on Thursday as commemorations began on eve of the 19th anniversary of the terror attacks.
Tributes paid to those who lost their lives have been altered this year, with restrictions in place due to Covid-19.
In New York, the annual ‘Tribute in Light’ was almost canceled after the 9/11 Memorial and Museum said there was a virus risk to the installation crew.
In Washington, a tower of blue light shone over the Pentagon one of many changes to the annual remembrance, which has been scaled back this year.
NEW YORK CITY: Governor Andrew Cuomo and former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the memorial’s billionaire chairman, stepped in to keep the memorial-sponsored lights on
NEW YORK CITY: The 9/11 Memorial and Museum’s annual ‘Tribute in Light’ will also go ahead after the memorial announced last month it was nixing the twin blue beams
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation illuminated its ‘Towers of Light’ tribute next to the Pentagon on Wednesday, and it will remain lit until the early hours of Saturday 12.
This is to honor the lives lost in Flight 77, which struck the Pentagon after being hijacked, killing all 64 passengers and 6 crew on board, and 125 people in the building.
Military leaders will conduct the Pentagon’s ceremony without victims’ families in attendance, and their loved ones’ names will be recited by a recording.
Although they won’t be read on-site, victims’ relatives can visit the Pentagon’s memorial in small groups later Friday.
President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden both plan to visit the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania on Friday, though not at the same time.
Trump is speaking at a morning ceremony, with Biden paying respects in the afternoon.
It will also be the first time since taking office that neither President Donald Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence will be at the Pentagon ceremony.
WASHINGTON D.C.: Tributes paid to those who lost their lives have been altered this year, with restrictions in place due to Covid-19
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Many events will take place online and not in front of crowds, like the large flag unfurling at the Pentagon
WASHINGTON, DC: Military leaders will conduct the Pentagon’s ceremony without victims’ families in attendance, and their loved ones’ names will be recited by a recording
In New York, the double beams of light that evoke the fallen twin towers were nearly canceled in the name of virus safety, until an uproar restored the tribute.
The Fire Department cited the virus in urging members to skip observances of the 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, among them almost 350 firefighters.
Some victims’ relatives say they understand the ground zero observance had to change in a year when so much else has.
The National September 11 Memorial and Museum canceled its tradition of having relatives read the names of the dead aloud.
It will offer a recording instead to those gathered at the World Trade Center site.
‘It’s another smack in the face,’ says Jim Riches, who lost his son Jimmy, a firefighter.
The father is staying home on the anniversary for the first time this year because he doesn’t want to take chances with the coronavirus after a prior illness.
But he feels others should have the option of reciting the names of the dead on the memorial plaza, instead of listening to a recording.
Some victims’ relatives felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact.
A different 9/11 group, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, set up a simultaneous ceremony in response to this in New York.
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum’s annual ‘Tribute in Light’ will also go ahead after it was announced last month the twin blue beams that shine into the night sky over lower Manhattan were to be canceled.
While there’s no official gathering to view the lights, the memorial cited virus risks to the installation crew.
The cancellation outraged some victims’ relatives, police and fire unions and politicians, who noted that construction sites around the city were deemed safe to reopen months ago.
After the Tunnel to Towers foundation said it would organize the display on its own, Governor Andrew Cuomo and former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the memorial’s billionaire chairman, stepped in to keep the memorial-sponsored lights on.
This comes after a federal judge directed the Saudi Arabian government to make officials available for depositions about their knowledge of the terror attack, which killed almost 3,000 Americans, on the eve of the anniversary.
This includes as many as 24 current and former officials such as Prince Bandar, the former ambassador to the United States, according to Yahoo! News.
The order has been praised by families of the 9/11 victims as a milestone in their years-long effort to prove that some Saudi officials were either complicit in the attacks or had knowledge of the hijackers plans months before.
However the effect of the ruling may depend on the willingness of the Saudi government to make its citizens available for testimony as some figures no longer hold positions and therefore cannot be compelled to testify.
The question of possible involvement in the 9/11 attacks by Saudi officials has been a subject of intense debate for years but it is something the Saudis have consistently denied.
Lawyers for the victim’s families have developed a circumstantial case that two of the hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, received financial support from individuals associated with the Saudi government.