Forged from steel, concrete, and glass, New York City's One World Trade Center cannot grieve nor remember.

But for much of the nation, the shimmering skyscraper, which will ultimately stand 1,776 feet tall, has become a vehicle for incredibly strong emotions, even 12 years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The tower reaches toward the sky, nearing its completion (slated for 2014), reminding us of what we lost — yes — but also of how far we’ve come.

2001: An aerial view of the site, six days after terrorists destroyed the Twin Towers. (U.S. Navy - digital version copy/Science Faction/CORBIS)

2002: Light from the WTC Memorial (Mark E. Gibson/CORBIS)

2002: A woman photographs a steel beam cross discovered in the rubble at Ground Zero. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Architects David Childs' and Daniel Libeskind's rendering of the Freedom Tower (since renamed One World Trade Center). (photography and computer renderings by dbox, inc./Getty Images)

2006: Workers begin construction of a 9/11 memorial at the World Trade Center site. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

2008: Work continues on the concrete core of One World Trade Center. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

2009: Construction cranes work over the rising steel frame. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

2011: One World Trade Center is reflected in a puddle, two days before the 10-year anniversary of the attacks. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

2012: Inspectors check a crane being used in the construction of One World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Joe Woolhead)

2012: Construction on the tower continues, as it inches toward its ultimate height of 1,776 feet. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

2013: The final section of the spire to top off the tower rises through the air. (REUTERS/Gary Hershorn)

2013: An iron worker leans on a safety fence and looks out at the New York skyline after watching the spire lifted toward the top of the One World Trade Center. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

2013: A full moon rises over the skyline of Manhattan and One World Trade Center (left). (REUTERS/Gary Hershorn)