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Final steel beam lifted at 4 World Trade Center

NEW YORK -- A final steel beam was lifted Monday atop a new World Trade Center skyscraper — the first expected to open at the site next year since the twin towers were decimated on 9/11.

With BeBe Winans singing “God Bless America,” workers raised their hardhats in tribute as the mammoth beam rose slowly into the Manhattan sky, swaying from a steel rope hoisted by a crane.

A U.S. flag attached to the bottom of the beam fluttered above several hundred spectators at the topping-off ceremony.

“Ten years later, it's pretty remarkable,” said a teary-eyed Sally Rexach, a nurse who aids workers constructing 4 World Trade Center.

She was at the site just after Sept. 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 (6.5-hectare) site where the uncompleted One World Trade Center in the northwest corner is already New York's tallest structure.

In the southeast corner facing the 9/11 memorial, the 72-story tower that was topped off Monday is to open for business in the fall of 2013 — the first occupied high-rise at the new trade center site since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The 1.8-million-square-foot (167,000-square-meter) skyscraper, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki, will primarily house commercial offices. A third of the office space will be set aside for the headquarters of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site.

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Construction workers and officials watch as the ceremonial last beam is hoisted to the top of 4 World Trade Center in New York, Monday. The 72-floor, 977-foot tower is scheduled to open late next year. It's expected to be the first tower completed on the 16-acre site since the 9/11 attacks. (AP)

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