Stars, VIPs to mark Washington Monument’s reopening after earthquake damage


The Washington Monument is shown through blooming cherry trees near the Tidal Basin on April 9. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Washington Monument will reopen May 12 with a ceremony hosted by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and philanthropist David Rubenstein, the National Park Service said Tuesday.

The event, which is being held by the park service and the Trust for the National Mall, is open to the public and will begin at 10 a.m. on the southwest grounds of the monument

The ceremony will mark the reopening of the 555-foot national icon, which has been closed to the public since a 5.8-magnitude earthquake rocked the structure on Aug. 23, 2011.

The reopening will feature appearances by National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent Bob Vogel, television personality Al Roker, and “American Idol” Season 12 winner Candice Glover, the park service said.

The Army’s Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the United States Navy Band, and the Boy and Girl Choristers of the Washington National Cathedral Choir will perform.

Public tours of the monument are set to resume as the ceremony ends at 1 p.m. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8:30 a.m. May 12 at the Washington Monument Lodge on 15th Street between Madison and Jefferson drives.

For months, the monument was encased in 500 tons of scaffolding, inside and out, as workers repaired cracks and areas where the stone had been shaken loose by the earthquake.

The last of the repair scaffolding, which started going up more than a year ago, came down this spring. Rubenstein funded half the $15 million repair cost.

In a typical year, about 600,000 visitors enter the monument, which honors George Washington, Revolutionary War hero and the nation’s first president. It is one of the most famous structures in the world and a hallowed presence on the Washington landscape.

michael.ruane@washpost.com

Mike is a general assignment reporter who also covers Washington institutions and historical topics.
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