UK & World News
First World Trade Centre Tower Topped Off
A final steel girder has been hoisted onto World Trade Centre Tower 4, making it the first rebuilt structure to be topped off at the site of the September 11 attacks.
With BeBe Winans singing God Bless America, workers raised their hard hats in tribute as the mammoth beam rose slowly into the Manhattan sky, swaying from a steel rope hoisted by a crane.
A US flag attached to the bottom of the beam fluttered above several hundred spectators at the topping-off ceremony.
The construction of the 293-metre (977-ft) tower, designed by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, began in 2008 and will be inaugurated next year.
"The topping out of 4 World Trade Centre represents another milestone in the effort to create a new, dynamic World Trade Centre at the heart of a resurgent Downtown," project developer Larry Silverstein said at the ceremony.
The unfinished skeleton of the nearby Freedom Tower is already the tallest building in New York City and is set to reach a symbolic height of 1,776 feet (541 metres), the year of US independence.
The New York site includes two fountains sunk into the footprints of the former Twin Towers, with the names of the dead inscribed around the edges.
"Ten years later, it's pretty remarkable," said an emotional Sally Rexach, a nurse who tends workers constructing 4 World Trade Centre.
She was at the site just after September 11, 2001, supporting workers who combed through the smoking debris in search of human remains.
"This is a very proud moment; it's full circle," she said, glancing across the 16-acre site.
More than 100 builders signed their names to the white-painted steel.
"Everybody's put their blood, sweat and tears into this," said John Rzeznik, a project manager at the site.
Some 3,000 people were killed in the attacks on September 11, 2001 when al Qaeda hijackers ploughed two planes into the World Trade Centre and a third into the Pentagon, while a fourth plane was brought down in a Pennsylvania field.