In honor of September 11, we take a look at one of the most powerful public artworks to ever have been created. Tribute in Light consists of 88 searchlights that together form two vertical columns of blue light, reminiscent of the fallen Twin Towers. Placed next to the site of the World Trade Center, they're a way for all of us to remember the thousands of victims of the September 11 attacks.
The Municipal Art Society of New York produced the poignant installation as a temporary one and presented it for the first time on March 11, 2002, exactly six months after the fateful day. It has been an annual installation ever since. Amazingly, the memorial reaches 4 miles into the sky, making it the strongest shaft of light ever projected from earth into the night sky. On a clear night, the lights can be seen within a 60-mile radius, making it visible to all of New York City as well as most of suburban North New Jersey and Long Island. Tonight, it will shine from dusk through dawn the next day.
We will always remember where we were on September 11, 2001, when we first heard the horrific news. Here's Jenn, the photographer behind the shot above, describing her personal story, "I live in New York now, just north of the city, but on 9/11/2001 I lived on the west coast in the small town where I grew up. Sometimes I wonder how much New Yorkers knew about how all the country (and much of the world) was emotionally impacted by the event. Later I found that there was even an Oregonian killed on the flight that crashed in PA on that day. Even so far away as Oregon, we wanted New York to know that we stood with them, we were one country together despite any distance. I watched the news all morning in shock, close in front of the tv and I cried and wondered how many people were inside these towers when they fell. I went upstairs and took 3 ribbons and braided them into red, white and blue and tied it around my wrist, just so I felt that I had done something. I still have it. In the days that followed, I saw flags everywhere on cars and homes, businesses, and clothing. Everyone wanted to show their love for New York as we heard the stories of the brave firefighters and emergency crews working at ground zero. I heard a little song on the radio with a line I"ll never forget 'The sound of the firemen pounding up the stairs, while we were coming down…'
"A travel agency in Portland saw their business slow rapidly when people were afraid to travel, and suddenly thought of how this must be even worse in New York. They put together a group to journey to NYC to support local restaurants, theaters, hotels, etc. Around 1000 people joined the trip under the motto 'Oregon Loves New York,' including a school teacher from my church. She shared her remarkable experience when they returned. She said many things, and described the site of the attack, but what I remember most is that she told me the people here in NY were so kind and grateful for the support that they wouldn't even take the money, but instead kept insisting on picking up the bills for meals and coffees whenever they heard about why the group had come.
"I am proud of this small connection to my old home and my new home, though I'm not sure many people knew about it. The anniversary of September 11 seemed like a good time to share the story."
Taken throughout the years, here are some of the most stunning shots of Tribute in Light.
Photo credit: Jen (SunnyDazzled)
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