Those who worked to restore the Washington Monument from the damage it suffered nearly three years ago in an earthquake deserve some special recognition. So thinks Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who introduced a senate resolution to honor the National Park Service (NPS) and others for their hard work in restoring the structure on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The monument, one of Washington's top tourist attractions, has been closed since then but is scheduled to reopen to the public on Monday, May 12.
Whitehouse introduced Senate Resolution 432 on Thursday, May 1. It was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. No other senator initially cosponsored it. It honors NPS, its contractors who worked on it and the philanthropists who contributed to its rebuilding.
The monument was built in stages starting in 1848 but not being completed until 1884 to recognize George Washington, the nation's first president and commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.
The resolution praises the NPS staff and calls the monument “a symbol of unity and freedom in the United States and ...the distinguishing feature of the skyline in Washington, DC.” it notes that engineers had to look at every one of the 9,040 marble stones that comprise the outside of the structure as well as the 10,000 or so granite stones that make up the inside walls.
The monument has been covered in scaffolding since the earthquake. Though it has been closed to tours, the resolution notes that despite the closure of the structure, the 488 lights on the scaffold have “ illuminated the night sky of the United States capital and provided visitors and residents with a sight of unexpected beauty....”
On May 12, NPS and the Trust for the National Mall are sponsoring a ceremony for the structure's reopening. Participants in the ceremony include TODAY Show weatherman Al Roker, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, contributing Philanthropist David Rubenstein, American Idol Season 12 winner Candice Glover and musical entertainment.
The monument officially reopens at 10 a.m. ET with the ceremony. Public tours start at 1 p.m. ET. Tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis at 8:30 a.m. ET that morning.