How To Find A 9/11 Vigil — And What To Do If There’s Not One Nearby

by Chris Tognotti
Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Sixteen years ago, a pair of planes smashed into the World Trade Center towers, ultimately causing both to collapse in the biggest and deadliest act of terrorism ever committed on U.S. soil. And every year, when the anniversary comes around, countless people across the country feel they should pause a moment to pay their respects. And if that sounds like you, you might be wondering how to find a 9/11 vigil to attend.

With nearly 3,000 people slain in the attacks, and many more left dead and ill from diseases caused by the toxic, caustic conditions at ground zero in the months that followed, 9/11 looms as one to the darkest days in American history. It also brought about a series of wars and military conflicts in the Middle East, ones that cost hundreds of thousands of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of American lives, and trillions of dollars.

In short, there are different ways to pay your respects to the victims of a massive tragedy, and seeking out a vigil in your community is as good a way as any. And the quickest and easiest way to find events like these wherever you live, whether a protest, a memorial, or a public dialogue, is to check out what's happening on Facebook.

Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Whether you run a search for "9/11 vigil," "9/11 memorial," or any other similar phrase you can think of, Facebook will list all the events in your area that fit the bill. That's perhaps the quickest and easiest way for you to find gatherings of like-minded people. There will no doubt be rituals of remembrance happening in major cities through the United States on Tuesday, so if you're looking to get involved, you should by all means take a look.

For instance, there's a memorial happening in Willows, California. There's another happening in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday evening, and yet another in New York City. None of these are big, professionally organized events with hundreds of people slated to attend; rather, they represent a spirit of independent organizing to remember the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Of course, there are major events on the schedule too. First and foremost the one happening directly at ground zero itself ― if you've never been in New York City on the 9/11 anniversary, it's possible you've never seen this, but it's called the Tribute in Light. From 3 p.m. ET to midnight, visitors to the 9/11 memorial can observe the twin spires of light that are beamed into the sky, representing the two towers that were destroyed all those years ago. It's one of the more iconic and striking sights you'll ever see along the New York City skyline.

Major media outlets often hold their own sorts of memorials and remembrances of the 9/11 attacks, albeit not in the form of a somber vigil. For instance, MSNBC has replayed NBC News coverage of the attacks each year, broadcasting the images at the same time they happened all those year ago. This practice has drawn praise from some observers, and criticism from others.

Of course, even if you don't decide to attend any of the vigils on offer on Tuesday, you can always take a little time to reflect on the tragedy of 9/11 on your own, too. Although the anniversary doesn't quite carry the same pervasive public impact now as it did in the years immediately proceeding the attack, it's nonetheless something that looms large on countless people's minds every time the calendar turns to September.