Tribute in Light.

View of the Tribute in Light on Thursday, September 11, 2003 as seen from Liberty State Park in Jersey City. The lights illuminate from the area where the World Trade Center used to be located in lower Manhattan and shine as a memorial to those who lost their lives in terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. (Newsday Photo/Kathy Kmonicek / September 11, 2003)

Two giant beams of light representing the Twin Towers sliced for miles through the New York sky last night in memory of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center.

The "Tribute in Light" was turned on at sunset, 7:12 p.m., bringing back a popular symbol of respect for those who perished. The lights are to shine until daybreak Friday.

Among the hundreds of people quietly watching the beams from the Brooklyn Heights Esplanade across the river was Chet Williams, 60, a retired social worker from Bedford Stuyvesant.

"I love the lights," he said. "I connect the lights with the spirit of the people. It's indicative of all the spirits that were there and have moved on."

Jimmy Bost, 26, of Midwood, a dispatcher for a security company, took pictures of the beams shining up from near Ground Zero. "It's almost like a last viewing of the World Trade Center," he said.

"It's a friendly reminder of what was once there," said Allen Patterson, 36, of Bedford Stuyvesant, a Web site developer.

His girlfriend, D.J. Williams, 33, a fund-raiser, called the tribute special and soothing. "It's a symbol of what we will never forget," she said. "I prefer to see the blue lights instead of seeing the news and the reruns of the planes crashing into the buildings."

The beams were first shone in March of last year as a month-long memorial. Officials plan to bring back the tribute each year on the anniversary of the disaster that claimed 2,792 lives.

The light memorial was originally called the "Towers of Light," but the name was later changed to "Tribute in Light" to honor the dead.