The 20th Anniversary: Highlights from the Milestone Commemoration

  • October 15, 2021
Two beams of blue light emanate from the top of One World Trade Center, against a dark sky
Tribute in Light, 2021

Last month, we led the country in marking the 20th anniversary of the day that changed the world forever. The tremendous outpouring of love and support we saw from around the globe underscored the fact that even in the face of unfathomable adversity, our capacity for hope and resilience will unite and carry us through. 

At the Memorial
Dignitaries and elected officials joined 8,500 family members and guests for the morning ceremony, where Bruce Springsteen, Chris Jackson, Kelli O’Hara, and the Young People’s Chorus all performed. Throughout the day, more than 61,000 individuals visited the Memorial to pay their respects and view the annual public art installation “Tribute in Light.” 

Evening of September 11
We proudly partnered with NYC & Company and buildings and landmarks across the city and state on the “Tribute in Lights” initiative, an extension of the annual installation. More than 50 locations across the city and state lit their facades in blue, a simple but powerful gesture of collective remembrance that illuminated local skylines the night of the 11th. Iconic participants included One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, Bloomberg L.P., Lincoln Center, the New-York Historical Society, City Hall, Bloomingdale’s, New York Hall of Science, Niagara Falls, the Goethals Bridge, the Bayonne Bridge, JFK Air Traffic Control Tower, the Bronx Terminal Market, and the Times Square Ball. 

  • Midtown Manhattan skyline with iconic buildings lit in blue
  • The Oculus and One World Trade Center with blue beams of light illuminating the evening sky
  • Lincoln Center lit in blue
  • Manhattan skyscraper lit in blue
  • Manhattan building lit in blue
  • Manhattan buildings lit in red, white, and blue (left) and blue (right)

Iconic buildings across the city lit their facades in blue as part of our "Tribute in Lights" initiative. 

Anniversary in the Schools
With its raw, first-person accounts and the unique perspectives of those who experienced the attacks as children, this year's Anniversary in the Schools webinar was one more way we maintained our commitment to ensuring that future generations understand the significance of the attacks. More than 1,000,000 individuals participated on Friday, September 10, and Saturday, September 11, 2021. The program, made possible in partnership with the New York Life Foundation, was showcased at schools, libraries, and other organizations in all 50 states and nearly 50 countries, tripling last year’s participation. It can be viewed on demand, here.

Remember the Sky
As part of the 20th Anniversary, the public engaged in their own forms of commemoration online through a digital remembrance wall and our Remember the Sky social media initiative. Almost 90,000 people engaged with the campaign on Facebook, nearly 70,000 people tagged photos on Instagram and Twitter along with our #NeverForget911 message, and several thousand added individual submissions to a Blue Sky Remembrance site. It is this broad community of supporters who, together, help us continue our essential work and fulfill our promise to never forget 9/11.

  • Blue sky over foliage
  • Blue sky with wispy clouds
  • Blue sky over single layer of cloud fluff
  • Palm trees against bright blue sky
  • Hazy pastel sunset with buildings at forefront
  • Forest trees frame a blue sky with cottony clouds
  • Feathery clouds against baby blue sky
  • Palm tree in foreground of gray-blue cloudy sky

20th anniversary skies. Top, L-R: Albuquerque; Indianapolis; Berlin; Sydney.
Bottom, L-R: Beijing; Evans, GA; Paris; Argentina

ALA Poster Exhibition
In partnership with the American Library Association and with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, we developed a poster exhibition entitled "September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World." Nearly 4,000 sites registered to showcase these 14 posters that provided an introduction to the history, aftermath, and ongoing repercussions of the 9/11 attacks and included archival photographs and images of artifacts from the Museum’s permanent collection.

Thank You to Our Partners
With tremendous gratitude, we acknowledge our 20th anniversary partners: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Brookfield, Cantor Fitzgerald and the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, and Walmart, as well as Bank of America, Carnegie Corporation of New York, CVS Health Foundation, Dick's Sporting Goods, Fiserv, Anheuser-Busch Foundation, Clear Channel Outdoor, Delta Air Lines, The History Channel, New York Life, PepsiCo, Pernod Ricard North America, and the Structural Engineers Association of New York.

By 9/11 Memorial Staff

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