After 32 months, the Washington Monument is finally set to reopen after it suffered widespread damage in an August 2011 earthquake along the East Coast.
Since the 5.8 magnitude earthquake, the 130-year-old monument was covered in scaffolding to repair the more than 150 cracks in the 555-foot obelisk’s white marble.
Last year, 488 lamps restored the monument’s glow during its restoration as sensors lit the monument automatically each night at dusk.
Public tours of the Washington Monument will begin at 1 p.m. on Monday. Attending the ceremony does not guarantee you entry into the tour. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Washington Monument Lodge.
Philanthropist David Rubenstein matched the $7.5 million in public funds allocated by Congress for the monument’s restoration. In March, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a written statement, “We are grateful for David Rubenstein’s generous donation that funded half of the $15 million repair bill.”
Rubenstein told The Associated Press on Sunday that he was surprised how much the monument means to people who have written him letters and e-mail. He said he’s pleased the job was done on time and on budget.
“It became clear to me that the Washington Monument symbolizes many things for our country — the freedoms, patriotism, George Washington, leadership,” he said. “So it’s been moving to see how many people are affected by it.”
Source: USA Today | WUSA-TV