July 14, 2014

View from the Top: Washington Monument

One afternoon in August of 2011, I was at work in the Cannon building standing at the copy machine.  Suddenly, the building began to shake--it was a sensation I had never felt before.  My initial reaction was: someone just bombed the Capitol.  Dramatic, I know.  Hill staff are programmed to expect the worst.  In my mind, there was not another logical explanation for an event that could shake our entire building.

Moments later, our staff learned that we had just experienced an earthquake.  An earthquake in DC.  Needless to say, I was relieved no one was trying to hurt us, but slightly puzzled at the natural disaster that was now causing every employee to evacuate.

So where I am going with this flashback?

The Washington Monument sustained significant damage, as did many other buildings in DC.  It was immediately closed and underwent extensive renovations.  As soon as I heard it was going to close, I wanted to ride to the top.  Too late.  I had missed my chance.

Nearly three years later, the Monument is open again!  I reserved tickets for Kern and me so we could ride to the top.

After a 30 second elevator ride, we were at the top and able to see DC out of a few small windows.

North: White House, Ellipse, Department of Commerce 

West: Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, Virginia

East: National Mall, Capitol, our apartment

South: Jefferson Memorial, Tidal Basin, Virginia

We rode our bikes and enjoyed playing "tourist" for the evening.

Inside the Monument is a quote from Senator Robert Winthrop on the day it was dedicated (February 21, 1885) that states: "The lightnings of heaven may scar and blacken it.  An earthquake may shake its foundations...But the character which it commemorates and illustrates is secure."

How true Senator Winthrop, how true!

After our adventure, we got pizza at a new spot on our block: Pizza Parts and Service...then headed back to our apartment.  Even after being a tourist, there's no place like home.

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