The enormous World Trade Center at the southern tip of Manhattan, highlighted by what were then the two tallest skyscrapers on the planet, opened on this day in history, April 4, 1973.

The official ceremony was hosted by Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York and Governor William Cahill of New Jersey. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey publicly financed the World Trade Center.

The World Trade Center “should, because of its importance, become a living representation of man's belief in humanity, his need for individual dignity, his beliefs in the cooperation of men, and, through cooperation, his ability to find greatness”, said American architect Minoru. Yamasaki said after completing his vision.

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The World Trade Center is mourned today as a terrible testament to man's inhumanity to man.

Americans should celebrate the golden anniversary of the massive Yamasaki skyscraper complex today.

The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor in the 1980s, showing its relationship to the World Trade Center Twin Towers. (R. Krubner/ClassicStock/Getty Images)

It shone triumphantly over the largest city in the country, New York Harbor, the mouth of the Hudson River, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty – over America itself.

But the towers collapsed catastrophically just 28 years after they were opened, live on television, as the world gasped in horror during the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

“The World Trade Center should, because of its importance, become a living representation of man’s belief in humanity.” – Minoru Yamasaki, architect

More than 2,750 people were killed at the World Trade Center that day in New York City, an event that altered the trajectory of global history. (Another 184 people died that day in the attack on the Pentagon, and another 40 people were killed in Pennsylvania when one of the hijacked planes crashed after passengers tried to retake the plane.)

The footprints of the Twin Towers are now the site of the 9/11 Memorial, a pair of reflecting pools and artificial waterfalls surrounded by the names of those killed in the attacks.

September 11 terrorist attack

The second World Trade Center tower caught fire after being struck by a hijacked plane in New York City in this September 11, 2001 file photograph. (REUTERS/Sara K. Schwitek)

The World Trade Center rightfully occupies a reverent and haunting place in American culture today.

But the Twin Towers in their time were only tolerated, not loved, say New York historians and architectural experts.

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“The World Trade Center has never captured the imagination of New Yorkers, and the world, the way the Empire State Building has,” wrote author Mark Kingwell in “Nearest Thing to Heaven,” a 2006 history of the Empire State Building, which It stood as the tallest skyscraper on Earth for 40 years before being surpassed by the Twin Towers.

He added: “It is not too harsh to say that they are more mourned in memory than they were ever appreciated in fact; and the mourning is certainly for the loss of life and for innocence, and not for any architectural or symbolic reason.”

WTC architect

Architect Minoru Yamasaki, designer of the World Trade Center, was interviewed in Manhattan on September 17, 1973. (Jim Nightingale/Newsday RM via Getty Images)

Construction progressed slowly amid disdain from New Yorkers as the city and nation faced crises.

Construction began in 1966. The North Tower was completed in December 1970. The South Tower was completed in July 1971, almost two years before the opening ceremonies.

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The United States was being torn apart by political conflict during the Vietnam War, while New York City was on the brink of economic collapse.

“It seemed so inappropriate to have something so excessive appearing on the New York City skyline at that time,” Greg Young, co-host and producer of the podcast “The Bowery Boys,” a popular chronicle of New York City history, told Fox .Digital news from last year.

“It seemed so inappropriate to have something so excessive appearing on the New York City skyline at that time.” – Greg Young, “The Bowery Boys” podcast

The World Trade Center became embroiled in America's culture wars during the 1970 Hard Hat Riot.

Anti-American protests broke out across the country after four Kent State students were killed in protests on May 4, 1970.

New York City Mayor John Lindsay ordered flags at City Hall to be flown at half-mast.

Working class protesters at the Hard Hat Riot

Protesters marched with American flags during the Hard Hat Riot, in New York City, New York, May 1970. Pro-American working-class protesters clashed with anti-Vietnam War protesters. (Stuart Lutz/Gado/Getty Images)

Four days later, thousands of workers at the World Trade Center and other workplaces, many of whom had brothers, sisters, sons and daughters who fought in Vietnam, marched from the towers, beat up hippies and stormed City Hall in anger, chanting ” The Star-Spangled Banner” on the way.

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The mayor relented and raised the American flags to their full height – but only after 150 people had been beaten and bloodied in the streets. Forty people suffered head injuries and six men were beaten unconscious during the Hard Hat Riot.

Young said New Yorkers “had a complicated relationship” with the World Trade Center.

Its conclusion was, at the very least, an unabashed testament to American exceptionalism.

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The United States fought the Cold War against the Soviet Union, the hot war in Vietnam, and completed all of the only six manned moon landings in human history – all while building, side by side, skyscrapers taller than the world. had ever seen.

Tribute to the light of September 11th in New York

The Brooklyn Bridge in front of a 9/11 tribute at Light in New York City. (Photo by Fox News/Joshua Comins)

“At 110 stories each, 1 WTC, or North Tower, and 2 WTC, the South Tower, provided nearly 10 million square feet of office space. Reaching more than a quarter mile into the sky, they were the tallest buildings in New York , and for a brief period, were the tallest buildings in the world,” writes the 9/11 Memorial.

“In 2001, the WTC was home to more than 430 companies from 28 different countries – around 50,000 workers. They attracted tens of thousands of tourists and commuters every day.”

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The Bowery Boys podcast website notes, “Everything that was grand and intolerable about New York City in the late 1960s/early 1970s was embodied here in these two impossibly tall metal rods.”

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