Thursday, 24 Sep 2020

The 9/11 Museum must answer for outrageous bid to cancel Tribute in Light

A massive public outcry has prompted the 9/11 Memorial and Museum to reverse its cancellation of this year’s “Tribute in Light” display to mark the anniversary of the attacks — but that shouldn’t end the affair.

How could the museum even think of calling off the most poignant tribute to those lost to the terror attacks? CEO Alice Greenwald owes the city an explanation.

City Councilman Joe Borelli (R-SI), Tunnel to Towers Foundation President Frank Siller and other local leaders stepped up to save the Tribute. It was Siller’s group that ended up securing the lights for the display.

In this time of pandemic, it was one (still bitter) thing to scrap the in-person reading of 9/11 victims’ names at the annual Ground Zero ceremony. But the two beams of light rising into the sky don’t create crowds — instead, they unite all who look up, from miles around the Ground Zero site.

Staging the Tribute requires some 40 electricians and stagehands to install 88 7,000-watt xenon bulbs atop the roof of a parking garage near the Twin Towers site. The lights shine over the skyline nightly for about a week through the 9/11 anniversary.

Museum Chairman (and ex-Mayor) Mike Bloomberg came up with the cash for health workers to oversee the tradespeople installing the lights. But sources tell The Post it was the museum’s inability to pay an Italy-based lighting firm, not the health risk, that prompted the cancellation. And why did a $600 million nonprofit need its billionaire chairman to step in?

With all the donations to the 9/11 Museum, funding the Tribute in Light should never be an issue. Just last month, the National Park Service announced a $2 million grant for the memorial and museum — including to support “an annual commemoration ceremony.”

“Live up to the museum’s mission,” said Borelli, as he urged the un-cancellation. Indeed. This affair suggests the museum’s leaders have lost track of what their trust is really all about.

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