Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News

Louis Medina, a security guard at One World Trade Center, couldn’t control his emotions as he thought about Monday, the first day at work for the skyscraper’s first group of office workers, 175 employees of publishing giant Condé Nast.

“Even 10 years from now, my son will ask me or my daughter will ask me, and I will be like, ‘I was there when the building opened [and] my job was to protect the building,’ ” said Mr. Medina, before succumbing to tears. “A lot of people don’t get a chance to be a part of history even if it is a small part.”

Mr. Medina’s passion represents just one of the layers of meaning surrounding the reintroduction of daily office life on the site where more than 2,700 people lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

For many, Monday’s milestone is largely economic, evidence of the continuing reinvigoration of lower Manhattan. And for Condé Nast, the move from Times Square to One World Trade Center symbolizes a corporate pivot toward the digital future for the company that produces the New Yorker, Vogue and Vanity Fair.

And then, of course, there are the more mundane concerns.

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