4 World Trade Center Tops Out

The first of the planned skyscrapers on the former site of the World Trade Center tops out, more than a decade after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

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Keith Bedford / Reuters

A beam is raised with an American flag during a ceremony to mark its installation in 4 World Trade Center in New York, June 25, 2012.

Draped with an American flag, the final steel beam was set atop 4 World Trade Center tower this week, the first new World Trade Center tower scheduled to open.

The “Topping Out Ceremony” included more than 1,000 construction workers, a giant flag and a crane hoisting the beam—signed by those who worked on the project, as is a custom—nearly 1,000 feet high to the top of the steel tower.

(PHOTOS: Ground Zero, Then and Now)

The 16-acre site will welcome its first visitors in 2013, a little more than a year from now, as 4 World Trade Center – a 72-story commercial office building that will include the Port Authority’s new headquarters — opens for business.

Larry Miller, a plumber from New Jersey, told the Wall Street Journal that being a part of this ceremony was different for him. “It felt good [signing the beam], a lot of satisfaction, a lot of pride rebuilding what was destroyed,” said Miller. “We top out every job and have a little something but this one is special.”

While 4 World Trade Center will signify the first of a handful of towers getting built at the site, the largest will be 1 World Trade Center (formerly dubbed Freedom Tower) which has already passed the Empire State Building as the tallest building in New York City and will top out later this summer at 104 stories. When finished in late 2013, officials expect it to be the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere.

The event at 4 World Trade Center likely marks just the first in a long line of ceremonies and milestones as the entire World Trade Center site gets new life more than a decade after the attacks of 9/11.

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