Annual 9/11 Lantern Display Spans All Faiths
An interfaith ceremony this weekend will once again transform a part of the Hudson River into a memorial for those killed in the September 11th attacks. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.
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With the 10th anniversary of September 11th just days away, the Interfaith Center in Morningside Heights is aglow with activity. Volunteers are making lanterns of love to be used as part of an interfaith memorial ceremony remembering those killed on 9/11.
Buddhist priest and Interfaith Center vice president T.K. Nakagaki started the Floating Lanterns Ceremony in 2002. Other religious and community organizations soon joined in and continued the tradition year after year, inviting people of all beliefs to take part.
"It's an opportunity to remember that so many people of so many different backgrounds gave back to our city on September 12," said Interfaith Center of New York Executive Director Reverend Chloe Breyer.
As the sun sets this Sunday and the "Tribute in Light" shoots into the heavens, dozens of the handmade lanterns will be lit and lowered into the Hudson River. They'll float for an hour in the waves.
"Light of hope or light of guidance and also bring some light to their suffering too," Nakagaki said.
"It's just a wonderful way to remember them and to imagine them just floating away at sunset," said Gloria Williams, who lost her brother-in-law in the terror attacks.
All in all, a total of 108 lanterns will float on the Hudson. The number has special meaning in the Buddhist tradition.
"One hundred and eight difficulties or suffering in our world like greed anger ignorance but also 108 ways to overcome and sort of reach the peace and happiness," Nakagaki said.
The floating lanterns ceremony will take place at Pier 40 on September 11th. Visitors can leave a message starting at 6 p.m.
Musical performances and interfaith prayer will be part of the evening.