Today is the day that visitors set foot inside the Washington Monument, nearly three years after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake closed it for repairs.
About 1,800 members of public, including veterans wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families, were allowed inside starting at 1 p.m. ET. Beforehand, the National Park Service had an hourlong reopening ceremony with schoolchildren, bands, singers and speeches.
“Going up in there and looking out reminded me of what I was fighting for,” said Marine Cpl. Tim Donley, who now uses a wheelchair because of the injuries he sustained. From the top, visitors can see the White House, the Capitol, the museums and monuments on the National Mall and beyond to Arlington Cemetery.
Visitors can examine new exhibits on the top floor of the 555-foot structure, including one that tells the story of Gen. George Washington, who later became the United States’ first president.
Read more at USA TODAY.