While we celebrate our nation’s Independence this day, it may also be important to remember an event that took place 13-years ago – a rebirth of our nation was celebrated at Ground Zero in New York City.

On July 4th, 2004, the cornerstone of the Freedom Tower was placed, marking the first step in a rebuilding process after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, that was both physical and symbolic.

The tower would take nearly nine years to complete, and eventually opened in November of 2014 as the tallest building in the Western hemisphere.

But it all started with a cornerstone …

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The New York Times wrote on July 5th, 2004:

In the dusty bowl of ground zero, a garnet-speckled granite cornerstone was laid yesterday for the Freedom Tower, the tallest skyscraper planned at the World Trade Center site.

New York took the first tangible step to recover its place at the pinnacle of the global skyline in a ceremony that was held within the trade center’s foundation, in bright sunshine but far below street level, where bedrock begins. Once again, said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, ”the world’s tallest building will rise in Lower Manhattan.”

Exactly how tall is not yet known. Though officials in their Independence Day speeches could not resist referring to the Freedom Tower as a 1,776-foot building, the main structure will reach only 1,500 feet — still quite a bit higher than the twin towers were — while the television antenna might approach 2,000 feet.

With the addition of the spire in 2013, New York’s Freedom Tower does indeed reach a height of 1,776 feet.

Some say it’s addition resembled a middle finger directed at the terrorists who took down the World Trade Center buildings in 2001.

Check out this incredible time lapse video of the Freedom Tower’s construction …


”To honor and remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 and as a tribute to the enduring spirit of freedom,” the cornerstone of the tower reads. ”July Fourth 2004.”

Share this July 4th memory with your friends and family!