The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announced today that its Board of Directors has approved funding to ensure the continuation of three important 9/11 memorial programs: Tribute in Light, the StoryCorps oral history project, and Project Rebirth – a film chronicling the redevelopment at the World Trade Center site.
During its meeting on Thursday, Dec. 17th, the Board committed additional funding to ensure the continuation of the Tribute in Light, an arts installation that shoots two beams of light high into the night sky to commemorate those lost during the September 11th tragedies. Universally embraced by the public since it was launched in March, 2002, the Tribute in Light can be seen from up to 25 miles away in any direction on a clear night. This funding will ensure Tribute in Light continues through the tenth anniversary of 9/11 when the National September 11 Museum and Memorial is scheduled to open.
“Tribute in Light, Story Corps and Project Rebirth are all deserving recipients of these grants and we’re thrilled that we can provide this critical funding to ensure their longevity,” said Governor David A. Paterson. “Each program, in its own way, is a fitting gesture that helps us to preserve the memories of the victims of 9/11, honor the heroism of the first responders and celebrate the solidarity the nation and the world have expressed in the aftermath of the tragedy.”
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said: “Every year, the Tribute in Light and memorial programs are powerful reminders of all those we lost in the tragic attacks of 9/11. As we continue building the permanent Memorial & Museum, which is scheduled to open in time for the tenth anniversary, it’s critically important that these moving and inspiring programs continue.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said: “Since it first shined in the months following the World Trade Center attacks, the Tribute in Light has been an important annual symbol of not only the terrible tragedy that occurred on September 11 but also the memory of those who perished and the sacrifices that so many people made for friends and strangers alike. To continue this moving memorial through its 10th anniversary is integral to the history of what happened and the hope of what can emerge from that day. I am pleased that the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has also decided to continue to fund the StoryCorps oral history recordings at the WTC site. These personal stories will preserve an historical account of the attacks for the nation and the world. Additionally, it is important to continue to fund the final production of Project Rebirth in order to chronicle the redevelopment of the complex. My thanks to LMDC Chairman Avi Schick for his continued leadership in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan and his commitment to preserving the memory of September 11.”
The LMDC Board of Directors also approved a grant for the WTC StoryCorps booth. Since 2005, StoryCorps has been operating a recording booth near the World Trade Center site, collecting family histories, memories and other stories, including accounts by those who lost loved ones during 9/11. StoryCorps is a national oral history project whose mission is to honor and celebrate lives through listening. The WTC booth accounts for a third of the 9/11 remembrances recorded by StoryCorps and this additional funding will fund operational expenses for two more years.
The LMDC Board also approved an award to fund final production of Project Rebirth, a film project chronicling the experiences of 9/11 victims and first responders. Project Rebirth has positioned fourteen 35 mm time-lapse motion picture cameras at locations in and around the World Trade Center site. Since the 6-month anniversary of the terror attacks, the cameras have been shooting one frame of film every five minutes, seven days a week, and will continue to do so until the rebuilding is complete.
As a feature-length documentary combining time lapse film photography of the rebuilding of Ground Zero with the intimate stories of nine New Yorkers coping post 9/11, Rebirth is the only living record of the minute-by-minute rebuilding of the WTC site and the only long term public film record of nine people dealing with grief and trauma. It will be a key component of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and serve as the basis for a range of cutting edge teaching and learning tools for educational, academic and therapeutic programs.
The Board approved $695,000 for Tribute in Light, $400,000 for StoryCorps, and $300,000 for Project Rebirth.
Avi Schick, Chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, said: “These programs continue to enhance the public’s connection to the World Trade Center site which is why it’s essential that we continue to provide a lifeline to them. As the rebuilding continues and steel rises from the ground, they remind us of the story of loss and renewal that serves as the foundation for all that we do to rebuild Lower Manhattan.”
Joe Daniels, President & CEO of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, said: “These three programs are integral to the success of the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum and we appreciate the LMDC providing this crucial funding. Our partners, Project Rebirth and StoryCorps, will provide essential content for Museum exhibitions, helping to preserve 9/11 history and the revitalization of the World Trade Center site for future generations.”
Municipal Arts Society Senior Vice-President Frank Sanchis said: “With the generous support of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, MAS has been able to produce the Tribute in Light for the past eight years. The Tribute can be seen by more than thirteen million people each year; it is a poignant memorial to those who perished on September 11, 2001, as well as to those who worked so hard to get our city through that terrible trial.”
StoryCorps President David Isay said: “Thanks to the generous support of LMDC, StoryCorps is able to provide a place for New Yorkers and people from across the country to share the stories of their lives with loved ones. We're thrilled to maintain a presence in the cultural landscape of Lower Manhattan. We're also particularly honored to offer our service to families and survivors of the attacks on the World Trade Center, and look forward to the completion of the Museum and Memorial where these stories of witness and memory will be shared with visitors from around the world.”
Project Rebirth Director and Founder Jim Whitaker said: “The LMDC has been a major supporter of Project Rebirth over the years, and we are very grateful for this grant which supports the completion of our feature-length documentary in the coming year. Our film reflects LMDC’s strong commitment to tell the story -- to the country and the world -- of the resilience of the downtown Manhattan community rebuilding from the 9/11 attacks.”
Congressman Jerrold Nadler said: “I commend LMDC for funding these unique memorial programs at the WTC site. As time marches by, and as we rebuild Ground Zero into something new, it is extremely important that we continue to honor and remember all New Yorkers and others who lost their lives on that terrible day. The three programs, each in their own way, tell the story of 9/11 for present and future generations, and it is gratifying to know that these tributes will continue.”
State Senator Daniel Squadron said: “These kinds of memorials are so important because they keep the memory and experience of the tragic events of 9/11 alive across generations. I commend LMDC for their ongoing commitment to our community.”Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer said: “Every year, these programs serve as a reminder of the tragic events of 9/11 and a tribute to those who lost their lives. I applaud the LMDC for allocating this funding and look forward to the day when the World Trade Center site is finally completed.”
NYC Councilmember Alan J. Gerson said: “We applaud the LMDC’s ongoing commitment to celebrating the memories and lives of those killed in the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. As the World Trade Center site rebuilding progresses, it will be more important than ever to have these mechanisms of memory available to us.”
Elizabeth H. Berger, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York, said: “Tribute in Light, with twin beams that can be seen for 25 miles, is a profound and extraordinary way to commemorate the devastation of 9/11 on the Lower Manhattan community. And the StoryCorps oral history project and Project Rebirth ensure that—as we move forward and rebuild—we will never forget.”
Manhattan Community Board 1 Chair Julie Menin said: “There is no better way to commemorate the lives that were lost during the horrific events of September 11th than to continue Tribute in Light and these other 9-11 Memorial programs. By teaching our children, our most precious resource, about the lessons and stories surrounding these difficult days, we help to teach them about tolerance, freedom and compassion.”