Published On: Tue, Apr 29th, 2014

Al Roker to emcee Washington Monument Reopening Ceremony


WASHINGTON – The National Park Service and the Trust for the National Malltoday announced that Al Roker, the TODAY show’s weather anchor and author, will join Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, and philanthropist David Rubenstein, and National Mall & Memorial Parks Superintendent Bob Vogel at the upcoming celebration of the reopening of the Washington Monument on May 12. Roker will serve as master of ceremonies, and will also be joined by American Idol Season 12 winner Candice Glover, the Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps, the United States Navy Band, and the Boy and Girl Choristers of Washington National Cathedral Choir.

Public domain photo/Wikimedia commons (cropped)

Public domain photo/Wikimedia commons (cropped)

The official reopening event is open to the public and will take place on Monday, May 12 beginning at 10 am on the southwest grounds of the Washington Monument. The 555-foot obelisk honoring America’s first president is reopening to the public for the first time since August 23, 2011, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake caused significant damage to the structure and forced its closure.

“The construction of the Washington Monument began in 1848 when private citizens raised money to build a memorial to honor our nation’s first president, and now it has been repaired thanks in part to the generosity of another private citizen, David Rubenstein, and the efforts of the Trust for the National Mall,” Secretary Jewell said. “This enduring spirit of public-private partnerships has made it possible for visitors to once again enjoy the Monument and its unmatched view of Washington, D.C.”

“As the National Park Service prepares for its second century of service to the American people, the cooperation with David Rubenstein on the restoration of the Washington Monument shows what great things are possible when we partner with the philanthropic community,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said. “His generous donation to the project follows in the great philanthropic traditions of Stephen Mather, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Andrew Carnegie, and so many others who over the years have turned to the national parks as a means of giving back to their country.”

“We’re thrilled to have Al Roker and Candice Glover play such important roles at an event that will celebrate the Washington Monument as well as the man who inspired it,” said Caroline Cunningham, president of the Trust for the National Mall. “Thanks to the generosity of philanthropist David Rubenstein and the tremendous efforts of the National Park Service, the monument will inspire and delight visitors and residents once again.”

Public tours of the Washington Monument will begin at 1 pm on May 12 after the reopening ceremony, and tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8:30 a.m. that morning at the Washington Monument Lodge on 15th Street, between Madison and Jefferson Drives.

“We’re looking forward to a great event and a meaningful day as we unveil the efforts of the past two and a half years,” said Bob Vogel, Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.  “The Washington Monument is looking spectacular – inside and out – and we can’t wait to share that with the public.”

The reopening event is sponsored by Trust for the National Mall partner Coca-Cola.

Al Roker is best known as the weather anchor on NBC’s TODAY Show. Since 2009, Roker has co-hosted his morning show, Wake Up with Al, on The Weather Channel.

Candice Glover is the first female winner of American Idol since Jordin Sparks won in 2007. Her debut album Music Speaks was released on February 18, 2014.

Watch this hand-edited time-lapse movie, documenting the Washington Monument restoration (Courtesy: EarthCam):


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