Utah family among first visitors to newly opened Washington Monument
National Mall Superintendent Robert Vogel greeted each of the first visitors as they waited in line. It was an emotional ending to a long repair project and a reminder that the public rallied to build the memorial in the 1800s, he said.
"They're all very excited," Vogel said of the visitors "They're from all over the country and the world, and that's what it's all about."
"It's been a long, arduous task to get it open," he said. "But what's kept us all going is there's just been this great outpouring of interest and caring about the Washington Monument from the day the earthquake hit.
"Hopefully it reminds everyone how important this monument is."
Kristopher Lewis of Augusta, Georgia, and his wife, Mary Lewis, were visiting Washington for a medical conference.
"I played in front of the monument when I was in the eighth-grade band, so I wanted to come back and see it," Mary Lewis said.
For Kristopher Lewis, it was his first visit. Looking up at the monument after getting tickets, he said he felt patriotic.
"There's so many amazing historical sites in Washington, D.C.," he said. "Just to be able to go up to the top of the monument and to look around and see all the city from that vantage point, not to mention the history of the monument itself, I think will be wonderful."