Nightly News   |  May 10, 2013

World Trade Center now tallest building in Western Hemisphere

As a crane lifted the final pieces of a spire to the top of One World Trade Center, the tower became 1,776 feet high -- the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The height harkens to the year the Declaration of Independence was signed, which was in 1776. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> tonight there is a new shiny and sharp point topping out the new york city skyline. a new king of tall buildings , not far from where the old ones once stood. today the spire was placed atop the new world trade center , freedom tower as it is officially known. over 12 years after terrorists knocked down the buildings and killed the people inside. nbc's anne thompson watched the new spire go up this morning and has our report tonight.

>> reporter: today new york city got a little taller. early this morning the final pieces of one world trade center 's spire were put in place, live on the "today" show.

>> i just want to give you a sense of where i'm standing. i'm on a platform right on the edge. take a look down. 105 stories down.

>> reporter: 1520 feet in the air, matt lauer gave the signal.

>> let's have the crowning achievement.

>> reporter: a crane operator perched above the tower carefully maneuvers the 22-ton section into place and lowered it down to a waiting crew.

>> this thing is lowering into place and apparently it's in right now. [ cheers and applause ]

>> reporter: it took seven years for the office building to reach this moment. a celebration of joy and pride from the construction workers above.

>> it's a good feeling. we're making history.

>> reporter: and the people below.

>> i get emotional every time i see a new stage go up on it. i'm very happy about it.

>> reporter: the tower now stands 1776 feet high. it is the tallest building in the western hemisphere , and so much more. it rises from a source of resolve.

>> i can hear you. the rest of the world hears you.

>> reporter: remember. [ bell ringing ]

>> david robert myer.

>> nurell h. neha.

>> the united states conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden .

>> reporter: and retribution.

>> usa! usa!

>> reporter: the 2,753 people killed here on september 11th are not forgotten. they are remembered nearby. this tower has a different purpose.

>> it's nice to close that chapter. it's been a cloud over the neighborhood for a long time.

>> reporter: a beacon of resilience to the nation and beyond. anne thompson , nbc news, new york.