N.Y.C. Remembers 9/11 Amid a Pandemic

Brittainy Newman/The New York Times

Photo: Brittainy Newman/The New York Times

New York Times
By Troy Closson
Photo: Brittainy Newman/The New York Times
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In years past, thousands have gathered at the site where more than 2,700 people were killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, as the names of those lost are read and the bells peal in New York City.

This year, during a pandemic that has killed more than 23,000 in New York City alone, the somber, solemn rituals will continue. But they will be marked by the current loss.

“You think back to those heroes, you think back to the compassion of everyday New Yorkers in that moment of crisis,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday. “And now we find ourselves in a new and different crisis. And once again, people all over this country, people all over this world are looking at this city with tremendous awe.”

Here is how New York City is commemorating the 2001 tragedy:

The reading of victims’ names will look different.
This year’s ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum will not include relatives reading the names of victims at a microphone. Instead, recorded readings will be broadcast at the plaza and online.

Family members at the memorial will be asked to wear masks and stay socially distant. There will be no platform where dignitaries give speeches, though both Vice President Mike Pence and Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, are expected to make an appearance.

Another memorial is planned for families.
Some were disappointed by the change in plans, and in response the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is holding a simultaneous memorial ceremony where family members can read the names of their loved ones.

Around 125 relatives will read the names from a stage at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. Attendees will wear masks, and those onstage will stay six feet apart. Mr. Pence is also expected to take part in the ceremony.

The Tribute in Light will go on.
The Tribute in Light, which has marked the attacks on the twin towers since 2002, had been canceled in August. The display features two beams of light that shine in New York City until dawn on Sept. 12.

But the coronavirus crisis led the memorial and museum to pull back plans for this year’s commemoration. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo later said that the state would provide health personnel and supervision — and that the tribute would still happen.

“This year, its message of hope, endurance and resilience are more important than ever,” Alice M. Greenwald, the president and chief executive of the museum, said in a statement last month.

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum will reopen.
The museum, which has been closed since March because of the pandemic, will open its doors once again. On Sept. 11, entry will be reserved for family members, while the rest of the public will be able to visit starting on Saturday.

The outdoor memorial reopened in July. After the Sept. 11 ceremony, the public will be allowed on the grounds from 3 p.m. to midnight.