NEW YORK (AP).- A salvaged 50-ton steel column was hoisted onto a support structure Tuesday at the World Trade Center site, where it will eventually serve as part of the entryway to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
A second column is expected to be raised Wednesday, according to Joe Daniels, the memorial's president. The 70-foot columns, from the wreckage of the north tower, were returned over the weekend to lower Manhattan.
The columns, which have three prongs and are known as tridents, once made up the facade at the tower's entrance. For the past few years they've been kept at a Kennedy International Airport hangar.
The $45 million museum, being built below the 8-acre memorial plaza, is set to open next year.
As a giant crane hoisted the plastic-covered column, it slowly revolved, revealing a flag and a 9/11 memorial sign. It was lowered into place.
People inside the site can now see the column jutting from what eventually will be the underground museum.
A chain-link fence with blue netting blocks most of the public view from the street.
Gov. David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials spoke earlier at a news conference.
Bloomberg said the top priority is to give families a place to remember their loved ones. He said it's also important to continue to fight for freedom.
"The progress that we've made here is helping us honor that obligation to our nation and the free world."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.