The NPS has released several videos and photos related to the earthquake and the inspection, and they're really the best resource for firsthand information. One of the common misconceptions is that the ranger you see in the video is abandoning ship before the visitors. In actuality, she leads everyone to the emergency exit, then comes back up to make sure everyone is out. It took a minute to get the man in the hat to get started down the emergency stairs because he was understandably looking for his child that was already out. I want to reaffirm that the ranger in the video was the last person out of the building. Personally, I find the video hard to watch. I don't find it amusing to see people in a state of emergency like that. Nikki was on the Today Show among other news networks as the crews prepared to do an inspection of the monument's exterior.
NPS Photo by WJE
In the past week, a team of engineers has been working to assess the condition of the monument's exterior. It makes for a dramatic photo, and the news media was really swarming the first day of the operation. At the end of the first day, I asked Dave Megerle back in our office, "How is the most-photographed man in America today?" The Washington Post got an interview with one of the female engineers. The Washington Post put together some nice photos in this photo album. Ranger Ed is holding up the chunk of stone that was recovered from the interior of the monument in the first picture of the album. This is a picture of me with the same chunk.
I commonly get asked when the monument will get fixed. The answer is that we don't know, and we won't know until we know exactly what the problems are. Luckily, every stone in the monument was cataloged during the 1999-2000 restoration of the Washington Monument, so each stone is known, numbered, and in a database already.
It will be interesting to see how things develop.