The Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center left thousands dead and changed America forever.
As the nation still heals from the emotional wounds inflected, the reconstruction and newly renamed One World Trade Center officially rises 1,776 feet from the ashes of Ground Zero.
This symbolically beats Chicago Willis Tower's 1,451 feet, making the lower Manhattan tower the tallest skyscraper in the United States by recognition of an international architectural panel, Tuesday, after a week of ruling.
Considered a world authority on super sized skyscrapers, The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat had a difficult time making its official decision. Without the 408-foot-tall needle atop the tower's roof, the One World Trade Center would have only measured at 1,368.
The council over the past few months mentioned standard changes to measurements considering contemporary developers adding "vanity height" to ultra-tall buildings through huge, decorative spires. Reasons for the not counting antennas, signage or flagpoles were because they are considered "functional-technical equipment subject to change." Negating the One World Trade Center from the role is its needle is enclosed in an fiberglass and steal structured radome.
"We were very satisfied with the detailed information presented by the team, in particular, that which affirmed that the structure on top of the building is meant as a permanent architectural feature, not a piece of functional-technical equipment," said Timothy Johnson, chairman of the council. He said the the committee had "tense moments" in reaching its decision.
"It's about the authorship of the architect in some ways, and the permanence of the piece to reinforce the role of design," council spokesman Daniel Safarik said in a statement.
The architectural team, including project chief David Childs, said that the building was actually "designed around those rules set by the council."
"I feel completely satisfied that this building achieved what it set out to do," Childs said. "It's an important statement for all of us to make."
Reconstruction on the One World Trade Center began July 4, 2004 and won't open until next year. Publishing giant Conde Nast will serve as its main occupant.
Only two buildings now tower above One World Trade Center - the Burj Khalifa (2717 feet) in Dubai and the Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel (1972 feet).