Cheers erupt as spire tops One World Trade Center
By Matt Murray and Eun Kyung Kim, TODAY
(NBC) -- A crane lifted the last of a 408-foot tall spire on top of One World Trade Center on Friday, a capstone to an emotional 12-year effort to replace the twin towers destroyed by terrorists.
The 18-piece silver spire will top out the tower at a symbolic 1,776 feet, a nod to the year America signed the Declaration of Independence. The new building is just north of the original towers, now the hallowed ground known as Ground Zero.
"This really is a symbolic moment because this building really represents the resiliency of this country," Port Authority Vice Chair Scott Rechler told TODAY's Matt Lauer, who earlier had made his way up the 104 floors to witness the process. "These people, the thousand men and women who have worked here tirelessly, really as a tribute for the people that perished on 9-11 right on this site."
If it didn't have the spire, One World Trade Center would actually be shorter than the Willis Tower in Chicago, which stands at 1,451 feet and currently has the title of tallest building in the U.S., not including its own antennas.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a Chicago-based organization considered an authority on such records, says an antenna is something simply added to the top of a tower that can be removed. By contrast, a spire is something that is part of the building's architectural design.
The tower is slated to open for business in 2014.
Tenants include the magazine publisher Conde Nast, the government's General Services Administration and Vantone Holdings China Center, which will provide business space for international companies.
Content from the Associated Press contributed to this report.