For the last 18 years, family members of 9/11 loved ones have descended on Lower Manhattan in a tradition that is as comforting as it is familiar in its ritual.
What You Need To Know
- A ceremony will mark the 19th anniversary of 9/11, but families will not read the names live
- Rather, a recording will announce victim names
- In a letter obtained by NY1, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum cites an "abundance of caution" to ensure safety for the families given the coronavirus pandemic
- he rest of the ceremony will remain largely unchanged, aside from social distancing and mask requirements
The names of nearly 3,000 victims read aloud, often with personal messages that have changed over the almost two decades that have passed - heartfelt and sad.
"My hero, and my light throughout the darkness that this has caused me," are some of the messages heard in prior ceremonies.
But this year, those personal messages will be absent -- as those names will not be read live, by family members, but rather played by recording.
In a letter obtained by NY1, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum cites an "abundance of caution" to ensure safety for the families given the coronavirus pandemic.
Patricia Reilly lost her sister Lorraine Lee in the attacks. She tells NY1, "I think those messages of love -- you just see the different generations in the last few years you see, do you know grandkids that like never or children who really never knew their parents. And they’re still getting up and speaking of love and remembrance, so yeah it’ll be a little less impactful but still meaningful and I think under the circumstances it’s the best that they can do."
The rest of the ceremony will remain largely unchanged, aside from social distancing and mask requirements.
There will be six moments of silence -- marking when each of the towers was struck and the times corresponding to the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93.
Jim McCaffrey -- whose brother-in-law, FDNY Battalion Chief Orio Palmer, was killed in the South Tower collapse, is grateful for any ceremony at all.
"If they didn’t have it this year it would give them maybe license to never have it again, which I think would be a terrible thing. So the fact that they’re doing it, I applaud them,” he said.
Reilly says she, too, is heartened that the Memorial is recognizing the importance of the ceremony to the families -- and says pausing for 9/11 should be a reminder to the country during these trying times.
"For that period of time after 911 when we all came together, everybody in the country really came together, I think we could use that today again," she said.
The Memorial says it is still working out details to provide families with access into the Museum on the anniversary and details about that will be given in August.