Tonight we will say goodbye - just as we did on this date in 2001 - to a difficult year, while looking with great hope to the new one ahead.
Twenty years ago, as organizers of New York's New Year's Eve celebration, Countdown Entertainment and the Times Square Business Improvement District (now the Times Square Alliance) faced a unique challenge. Was it possible to commemorate the unfathomable loss of September 11 - less than four months earlier - while also celebrating the promise of 2002?
The answer took the form of a redesigned New Year's Eve crystal ball, entitled "Hope for Healing." All 504 Waterford Crystal triangles adorning the iconic ball (6 feet in diameter and weighing over 1,000 pounds) would be replaced with newly crafted foliate-patterned crystals. One group would bear the names of the countries and regions from which 9/11 victims came; a second, the names of uniformed rescue units that lost members in the attacks; and a third, the hijacked flights and crash sites.