Washington Monument reopening after nearly three years of repairs

By Daniel S Levine,

Nearly three years after an earthquake shook Washington D.C., the Washington Monument is finally reopening to the public today. The monument underwent a massive restoration after the August 2011 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the structure.

While everyone who was visiting the monument at the time of the earthquake did get out safely, the structure was hit hard, especially at the top. As CBS News reported last week, Park Service police found several dislodged stones and cracks. One crack was four feet long.

It was important to get the structure, which stands 555-feet tall, repaired. Anyone who makes it to the top gets a wonderful view of the nation’s capital. “You can get an iconic view, whether it's Arlington Cemetery, or the White House, or the Lincoln Memorial, or the Capitol, so it's all of those views,” Park Service Director Jon Jarvis told CBS News.

According to The Associated Press, the restoration cost $15 million, with $7.5 million of that coming from philanthropist and businessman David Rubenstein.

“It became clear to me that the Washington Monument symbolizes many things for our country — the freedoms, patriotism, George Washington, leadership,” Rubenstein explained to the AP. “So it's been moving to see how many people are affected by it.”

The National Park Service is offering extended seasonal hours starting on Tuesday, so the monument will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the summer. You can reserve tickets at Recreation.gov.

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