NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was never consulted when the National September 11 Memorial & Museum originally canceled the "Tribute in Light."
"That whole process, the decision is not something that involves City Hall at all," de Blasio said during his daily briefing Wednesday. "Literally, no one from the 9/11 Memorial reached out to me, no one consulted with us, they went and did what they did. And I know their intentions were good. They were trying to address this crisis and really focus on health and an abundance of caution. I think what they did was a mistake, initially, because it's such an important moment for the families who lost loved ones."
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum had announced on its website last week that the Tribute in Light was canceled this year due to health and safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The tribute was reinstated after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state would provide health professional and supervision to make sure the event is held safely.
The museum said former Mayor Michael Bloomberg is helping to cover the "increased costs associated with the health and safety considerations around the tribute this year."
The mayor said if he was involved in the initial decision process he would've handled it differently.
"The notion of keeping people safe is obviously crucial, but I think what would have been smarter is what they ultimately decided to do, which is basically to keep the same ceremony, keep the same very moving tribute in light — adjust, make a few health modifications and distancing modifications like we do with so many other things. So, to me, I think it's now been resolved more sensibly," de Blasio said. "But, no, I want to be clear, some people thought that I had something to do with it, my office had something to do it. We were not consulted in the least. If we had been, I would have told them stick to the original plan, but, you know, let's do some health and safety modifications."
Prior to the governor's announcement, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation said it would set up its own light memorial near the World Trade Center location. The organization said it still plans to move forward with its own plan.
John Feal, a 9/11 first responder and founder of the Feal Good Foundation, says it's important that the lights shine on.
"It represents what's missing and those are two towers, and those lights represent the resiliency of the New Yorkers and the people around our country. It's hope, it's comfort, it means that we're Americans and we're human beings and we need that right now especially during the anniversary month," Feal told WCBS 880.