One World Trade Center reached its full symbolic height Friday morning as crews installed the final pieces of its spire.
The skyscraper now tops out at 1,776 feet.
The final, 75-foot-tall segment, draped in an American flag, is the crowning piece of a project more than a decade in the making.
"It's an incredible achievement for the city, the state, the region and the country in terms of rebirth and recovery from the dark days of 9/11," said Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Patrick Foye.
Lifted up and hoisted into the clear blue sky by crane, it was met by a crew of construction workers who maneuvered it into place and bolted it secure.
On top of the spire is a beacon that will actually serve as a beacon that you can see for tens of miles away which I think will be a beacon of hope when people look at the New York skyline," said Port Authority of New York and New jersey Vice President Scott Rechler.
Members of the media, workers and Port Authority officials were invited to watch the installation from a platform about 110 stories high.
Many in attendance said it represents a moment of pride for all those involved in the rebuilding efforts.
"When the spire went up there were tears in the guys' eyes. And you know it's not about handshakes today it's about hugs and it's about remembering why we're here: That we're going to rebuild for the good of the country, and we're going to rebuild bigger and better," Rechler said.
"Been on the job for five years so it's a great honor to finish it off today," said WTC Ironworker Richard Christy.
"Very proud moment. It's history," said WTC Ironworker Joseph Travieso.
Still at issue is whether the spire should be considered an antenna, which would not count towards the building's height or part of its permanent structure. It's a determining factor that would make One World Trade the tallest building in the western hemisphere.
The 104-story building is scheduled to open next year.