Congressman Max Rose is calling on the federal government to take over the Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum over its cancellation of live name-reading and fumbling the “Tribute in Light” — which he called a slap in the face to 9/11 families.
The Democrat from Staten Island, which lost more than 300 residents in the WTC attacks, fired off a missive to National Parks Service Acting Director Margaret Everson Saturday requesting a sitdown to discuss “any and all measures the federal government – and your department – can take to safeguard the memory of the victims.”
The Memorial and Museum made worldwide headlines last month when it announced the iconic 9/11 light display — twin beams of light rising from the former footprint of the Twin Towers — would be scrapped due to coronavirus concerns. President and CEO Alice Greenwald said the “Tribute in Light” required a large crew to pull off and the health risks “were far too great.”
The decision came after the museum was heavily criticized for canceling the in-person reading of 9/11 victims’ names at the upcoming 19th anniversary commemoration of the terror attacks. Instead, the memorial will play a pre-recorded reading of victim names.
“While it has been nearly two decades since that tragic day, the pain remains as vivid as it was all those years ago,” Rose wrote. “That is why the decision by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum to not only alter the deeply personal ceremony to mark the attacks, but also cancel the Tribute in Light was a slap in the face to the families who already lost so much.”
Management of the Memorial must be changed for its current private foundation to the feds to ensure that “an affront of this magnitude does not happen again,” he wrote.
Rose underscored he was aware of the park service’s budgetary restrictions and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum does not” currently” sit on federal park land, but noted the agency “possesses valuable experience in overseeing hallowed grounds – from Gettysburg to the Oklahoma City National Memorial. As you know, caring for these sites means more than just maintaining the grounds – it requires reverence for those we lost, and empathy for all those they left behind.”
Facing mounting outrage over its decision to cancel the Tribute in Light, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum ultimately backed down and agreed to stage the beloved display on the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Had that not happened, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation was poised to create the same light show on the evening of September 11.