Empire State Building policy lights up ire

June 11, 2010 at 1:03 PM
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NEW YORK, June 11 (UPI) -- The late Mother Teresa isn't alone in being rejected for special Empire State Building lighting in New York; the U.S. Marine Corps says it was snubbed, too.

Gunnery Sgt. Alex Kitsakos, a Marines spokesman in New York, told the New York Daily News the skyscraper's owners said no to a request that the building be lit in scarlet and gold Nov. 10, 2008, when the Marines celebrated the corps' birthday.

"Of all the silly things they would consider lighting the building for, they wouldn't light it for the Marine Corps?" he asked. "Whoever it is that's running the building, they certainly could be making better decisions about who it is that they choose to honor."

A statement issued Thursday by the management of the building, owned by the family of developer Anthony Malkin, stated its practice is to not honor religious figures or organizations.

"We are saddened by the hateful words and messages being generated both for and against lighting for Mother Teresa," the statement said. "We surely wish that the emotions of those in favor be directed towards good actions of community service in the spirit of their views, and that those who are against be dignified and respectful in their dialogue."

Admirers of Mother Teresa had asked the Empire State Building be lighted in blue and white Aug. 26, the 100th anniversary of her birth.

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has called on New Yorkers to light their own windows in blue and white, the colors of the Sisters of Charity, Mother Teresa's order.

"We're not going to wait for the Empire State Building to make sure that her light is alive and strong in New York City," Quinn told the Daily News Thursday after again failing to get Malkin to change his mind.

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