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.