This poster has so many levels to it, I don't even know where to begin.
It is a prime example of the sacred revealing itself in the mundane. Not much more mundane than a movie poster.
What strikes you about the poster? Aliens—creatures from the sky, the incomprehensible sacred vault of the heavens, attack America!
Where do the aliens arrive?
At the Empire State Building, the highest single point in America's largest city, widely perceived as its greatest, its true capital, one of the world's capitals people worldwide consider the greatest city in America, or even the world. At the least, it is the tallest building in America's largest city—a record New York has held uninterrupted since it first claimed it in 1790.
But what about the Twin Towers? Those were taller than the Empire State Building! They don't count simply because they were twinned. Tall, yes--but as a symbol of man reaching toward the heavens, only a single spire has the full effect.
The Empire State Building is that spire. And it has been a symbol of New York City and America since it was built, a symbol of hope constructed during the Great Depression. When it was built, it was the tallest building in the world.
New York State and the Building share the same moniker—the Empire State (The State had it first).
The ESB was and is much more than a mere symbol of America's power. It is the most powerful of all symbols—the AXIS MUNDI!
The spire, tower, needle which connects mortal man to the Heavens above.
Thus, the ESB is a fully realized Tower of Babel. It is the very heart of New York City, and of America.
And when man tries to show that he is good enough to reach God, Heaven gets ticked off.
In this case, Aliens get ticked off (as they are wont to do).
That's why the poster features a massive beam of light connecting the axis mundi of America, its proudest monument, with the alien warship—foreign, incomprehensible, beyond anything we know. The blast of light symbolizes the portal that the axis mundi creates between the profane and the sacred. In this case as in all cases, the sacred is beyond our power to control or understand.
Of course, it is no coincidence that the film was released on and is named for Independence Day. July 4th is a sacred day in America—secular, but sacred. But this is obvious and played a prominent role in the film's marketing.
Anyway. That's why the aliens chose that particular building on that particular day to kick our ass!
Not much needs to be said about the next image, except that it is awesome, and most of the same principles apply, but note that the White House is not an Axis Mundi. It is, however, in the realm of differentiated space. But that's a topic for another day.