A spire adorned with an American flag has been hoisted to the roof of One World Trade Center, where it will eventually be raised and make the building soar to a symbolic 1,776 feet.
As construction workers and onlookers applauded, the upright spire was lifted by crane to a temporary platform Thursday and will be installed at a later date.
The 408-foot spire will serve as a world-class broadcast antenna.
With a beacon at its peak to ward off aircraft, the spire will provide public transmission services for television and radio broadcast channels that were destroyed in the 9/11 attack.
Overlooking the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, One World Trade Center is scheduled to open for business in 2014.
The tower is at the northwest corner of the site, which is well on its way to reconstruction with the 72-story 4 World Trade Center and other buildings.
One World Trade Center is already New York’s tallest building and will become the tallest in the Western Hemisphere when the final pieces of its spire are attached, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The structure will top out at 1,776 feet in a reference to the year the Declaration of Independence was adopted by Congress. But the tallest in the West designation won't be official until the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat signs off, NBC News reported. If the council doesn't count the building's spire as an "architectural top," One World Trade Center would rank third in the Western Hemisphere behind Willis Tower and the Trump International Hotel & Tower, both in Chicago.
The world's tallest building, topping 2,700 feet, is in Dubai.
The celebration of the reconstructed trade center comes days after a grisly reminder of the terror attack that took nearly 3,000 lives: the discovery of a rusted piece of airplane landing gear wedged between a nearby mosque and an apartment building — believed to be from one of the hijacked planes that ravaged lower Manhattan.
No human remains were found in the alley. The airplane part was removed Wednesday and taken to Brooklyn.
The new tower's crowning spire is a joint venture between the ADF Group Inc. engineering firm in Terrebonne, Quebec, and New York-based DCM Erectors Inc., a steel contractor.