(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
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.