Washington Monument Rises Again 3 Years After Devastating 5.8 Magnitude Earthquake
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | May 12, 2014 3:10 PM EST
After magnitude 5.8 earthquake has cracked some of its granite and marble stones in August 2011, the Washington Monument will reopen anew to the public.
The 130-year-old monument suffered from more than 150 cracks in the 555-feet obelisk's white marble 3 years ago when the temblor occurred.
U.S. Congress allotted $7.5 million to repair the earthquake's damage. Billionaire David Rubenstein, a Washington philanthropist, matched the amount to ensure the smooth reconstruction of the damaged monument.
"It became clear to me that the Washington Monument symbolizes many things for our country - the freedoms, patriotism, George Washington, leadership," Rubenstein said.
"So it's been moving to see how many people are affected by it."
He recently told AP what made him finalized his decision to help fund the reconstruction project were the letters he received from people who seemed to really value the structure.
The Washington Monument's reopening will be broadcast by NBC, with "Today" show Weatherman Al Roker as host. The National Park Service said in a statement a number of government officials will grace the ceremony, including Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.
"American Idol" Winner Candice Glover, the Army's Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the Navy Band and a children's choir will provide the music.
Public tours of the Washington Monument starts at 1 p.m. on Monday. Attendance to the ceremony, however, does not correlate to an entry into the tour.
Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Washington Monument Lodge on 15th Street, between Madison and Jefferson drives.
The Washington Monument used to be world's tallest structure for 5 years until it was eclipsed by the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
"That stone has been weathered for more than 100 years," the Los Angeles Times quoted James Perry, chief of resource management at the National Park Service.
"It has been patched and cracked and chipped and hit by lightning.... It's not meant to be pristine, it's meant to retain that character."
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