Los Angeles

Special Olympics Torch Heads for the Sky

Law enforcement members will carry the "Flame of Hope" up the tallest building west of the Mississippi.

The U.S. Bank Tower, sometimes called the Library Tower, still, with affection, is a structure with oodles of story and symbolism 'round Southern California. 

Not only is the downtown skyscraper frequently described as "the tallest building west of the Mississippi" but it's often seen in movies centered around Los Angeles. The colorful lights at its apex pay tribute to various holidays, runners dash up its 72 stories each fall to support the Ketchum-Downtown YMCA, and a fancy new outdoor deck called the OUE Skyspace LA is due 2016.

Prepare to put another memorable feather in the tower's cloud-reaching cap: Participants in the final leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, the flame-traveling fundraiser and awareness-building campaign for the Special Olympics, will head up the iconic building, to its very rooftop and helipad, but they will not be empty-handed.

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The Flame of Hope, the burning bright torch that's been handed off, person to person, in towns around the country, will pay a visit to the tippy-top of our city's highest height. The torch's visit to the top of the U.S. Bank Tower symbolizes "the athletes' incredible achievements and physical manifestation of the #ReachUpLA Special Olympics World Games message.

The flame has traveled some 4,648 miles in all, so 72 stories straight up should be a cinch. Many of those miles have been covered in California, where the torch passed through 127 cities and the State Capitol Building in Sacramento.

If you can't join the cheer section outside the U.S. Bank Tower on the morning of Friday, July 24, when the Flame of Hope is expected, count on some stellar shots taken from the air.

Or you can keep an eye out for it when it makes its anticipated debut at the LA Coliseum on Saturday, July 25, during the opening ceremony for the Special Olympics World Games.

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