The 18-piece silver spire will top out the tower at a symbolic 1,776 feet, a nod to the year America signed the Declaration of Independence. The new building is just north of the original towers, now the hallowed ground known as Ground Zero.
“These people, the thousand men and women who have worked here tirelessly, really as a tribute for the people that perished on 9/11 right on this site.”
Lauer called it an “incredibly emotional” moment for him as a New York native.
“There’s a certain sense of personal pride that goes along with it,” he said just as the final pieces were lowered into place.
Applause and a huge cheer then erupted from the crowd below, some of whom had been chanting “U-S-A.”