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Ways to mark September 11 in NYC this year

The 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks will be marked through live concerts, art exhibitions and more.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, and you may be wondering what 9/11 memorial events there are in NYC to memorialize this solemn day.

Over the past two decades, NYC has memorialized those we lost in the attacks through music, somber ceremonies, art installations and incredible symbols like the Tower Lights.

In 2021, there are more ways than ever to remember 9/11—from a 5K for children affected by 9/11 to reflective concerts and more.

Here are some ways to mark the significant milestone. 

How to mark 9/11 in NYC

  • Art
  • Art

To honor the moment, the New-York Historical Society will stage a series of installations and film screenings that strive to provide understanding and context around what New Yorkers collectively experienced on the horrifying day of history. The experience will take place throughout Saturday, September 11, and will include the ethos-filled relics, including a damaged fire truck door from the first responders to arrive on the scene and candles, notes and mementos retrieved from memorials erected in the immediate aftermath. 

  • Things to do
  • City Life

New Yorkers For Parks have been planting daffodils around NYC every year for the last 20 years. The massive volunteer effort, which involves up to 400,000 New Yorkers, began after the 9/11 attacks when Hans van Waardenburg, a Dutch bulb supplier, gifted a million flowers to the city to honor those who died. Since then, over eight million daffodil bulbs have been distributed for free, planted by volunteers every fall and blooming in the spring. This year, on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the Daffodil Project will double the number of bulbs planted around the five boroughs for a total of one million bulbs planted in the city. The project’s increased size this year is meant to also honor those lost in the coronavirus pandemic. Click through to find out how to volunteer this year.


From 2 to 6pm on September 11, join the Museum of the City of New York for a screening of two recent short documentary films about the events and aftermath of September 11: Chief (Harvey Wang and Robert Maass, 2021, 23 min.) and In the Shadow of the Towers: Stuyvesant High on 9/11 (Amy Schatz, 2019, 31 min.) Following the screenings, sit in for a Q&A with the filmmakers and others about their roles in creating artifacts of public memory and exploring the continuing ramifications of 9/11 for New Yorkers today. Tickets to the event are included in museum admission ($20). 


'Shine A Light' by 9/11 Day

Co-produced by the 9/11 community itself, Shine A Light is a TV tribute for the 20th anniversary featuring CNN's Jake Tapper as host, musical performances by H.E.R., Brad Paisely and Common. Tapper will hold discussions with young adults affiliated with the nonprofit Tuesday’s Children, who lost parents on 9/11.   

"Shine A Light will be a unique and forward-looking tribute to the nearly 3,000 innocent people who were killed in the 9/11 attacks, their families, the survivors, rescue and recovery workers and volunteers, and those in the military who rose in service in the aftermath of the attacks," said David Paine, president and co-founder of 9/11 Day. "For the historic 20th anniversary of 9/11, we wanted to create an opportunity for the 9/11 community to tell its story directly to the American public and to others around the world who’ve also had to overcome violence and tragedy in their lives. We hope to demonstrate that even in the face of great tragedy, good things can arise if we’re willing to simply shine a light on the natural goodness that lives in ourselves and in all of us. That’s an essential and powerful reminder for all of us now, 20 years later, as we continue to deal with other tragic events, whether they be COVID, the devastation of Hurricane Ida, or the events unfolding in Afghanistan."

The program will air the evening of September 11 at 7pm on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Español.

"9/11: One Day in America" docu-series
Photo courtesy of @misslialee on Instagram

"9/11: One Day in America" docu-series

From executive producers Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, 9/11: One Day in America is a four-night limited docuseries made in remembrance of the attacks on 9/11 in New York City, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania that will air in six episodes over four consecutive nights on National Geographic. The immersive docuseries is told only in first-person narrative that chronicles, at times minute-by-minute, the events of that day from the perspectives of first responders and survivors who were there. In addition, the filmmaking team sifted through 951 hours of archival footage (some never before seen) to create the series, offering a comprehensive, intimate look at how that fateful day 20 years ago unexpectedly and tragically impacted so many lives while uniting strangers together to save one another at all costs. After going through the footage, the filmmaking team proceeded to find these folks and interview them today. We’re able to hear from those we see in the footage who remind us through each very personal story, the power of human resiliency. It airs on National Geographic each night at 9pm beginning August 29.

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