Tribute in Light Illumination at the World Trade Center: Behind the Scenes

Tribute in Light-17

Tonight I had the honor of attending the Tribute in Light installation, an annual tradition by the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS). Following the devastation of September 11, 2001, MAS assembled the first sponsors for a temporary memorial, and in collaboration with Creative Time, co-founded Tribute in Light which lit the sky 6 months after the attacks. The twin beams of light–visible within a 60-mile radius on a clear night–have become an icon of remembrance, honoring the victims of September 11 and serving as a globally recognized symbol  of the extraordinary losses we suffered on that day.

The most incredible moment for me came as I ascended to the roof to capture the Tribute in Light from above. The stairs opened up into a vista of the pale blue lights and my heart just stood still. I took a moment to just stand there, take it in, and try make my best shot.

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After an opening by MAS president Vin Copolla, Bebe Neuwirth gave a beautiful reading.

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Some of us were allowed to go inside the footprints and from there you can see what an incredible feat this installation is:

The view looking upward from within the footprint of light:

Some additional shots:

Support Tribute in Light and MAS to keep this memorial shining. Donate online at MAS.org/TIL, call 212 935 3960 or by texting “TRIBUTE” to 20222

Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.

Untapped New York 9/11 Coverage:

9/11 Memorial in Pictures
A look inside the 9/11 Memorial from a volunteer at the service
Behind the Scenes at Ground Zero with Photographer John Bartlestone
9/11 Memorial Partners with Social Media App Broadcastr
The Downtown Doodler Remembers 9/11  

 9/11, manhattan, Municipal Art Society, Tribute in Light, world trade center

11 Responses
  1. Valerie NYC Reply

    I hadn ´t seen this, Michelle. The photos are beautiful and we can feel your state of awe in them. I join those who vote to keep this wonderful installation going and will do my part to make that happen.

  2. I hope that this isn’t the last year they do this. What a gorgeous tribute to those that perished.

    • michelle young Reply

      I agree. Spread the word–they are looking for donations to keep it going.

  3. These photos are beautiful. I noticed you mentioned a reading was done (by Bebe Neuwirth) at the event. I was wondering if you knew what poem was read or where I could find the poem? I am writing a letter to a friend who lost a family member during 9/11 and would like to include a poem. Thank you!

    • michelle young Reply

      Dear Tina, the poem was “Could Have” by Wislawa Szymborska. Hope I got it to you in time!

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