Chicagoans should have guessed something was up when its name changed from Sears Tower to Willis Tower. The name Willis gave us the willies; to this day, many avoid referring to it as such. But these are the games big conglomerates play when they have space to fill.
The point being the Tower soon will cede its title as the nation's tallest to Freedom Tower, a structure in Lower Manhattan rising in the shadow of incalculable tragedy.
Good for New York.
Now, don't get me wrong. Chicago liked laying claim to the nation's tallest building. We liked it so much we built the nation's second, fifth and sixth tallest. Chicago, after all, is the birthplace of the skyscraper, of the 10-story Home Insurance Building, completed in 1885. That building, like Freedom Tower, rose from scorched earth, like a phoenix singed by fire.
Tall buildings aren't the finest of human of achievements. Rather, they are expressions of human endurance and enterprise. So, it 's fitting that Freedom Tower claimed the title of New York's tallest the very week the nation marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden.
It's also fitting that one day New York City will lay claim to the nation's tallest. I don't think any Chicagoan would argue the point, not under the circumstances. Not even the Willises – whoever they are.