U.S. First Lady Melania Trump Thursday, September 19, participates in a ribbon-cutting occasion to mark the reopening of the Washington Monument after a three-year repair.
Melania Trump alights from a vehicle, wearing a white sleeveless Prada dress.
Staff from the Interior Department at the event, including Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, Assistant Secretary Rob Wallace, as well as acting National Park Service Director Dan Smith, joins the first lady.
[David Bernhardt, Secretary of the Interior Department]:
"Well, it's such a great honor to have the first lady with us today for the reopening of the Washington Monument. And we are joined here by some wonderful fourth graders. And the reality is the monument has been closed for a little over three years. And today is the grand opening.”
After the ribbon cutting, Melania Trump steps inside the Monument for a tour to see the renovation.
Since September 2016, the 555-foot stone obelisk was closed to the public to upgrade the security systems and to replace the old elevator.
For most of the past eight years, the Washington Monument has remained closed. An earthquake in August 2011 left cracks in the stones near the top of the obelisk. It reopened in 2014, but Park Service officials had to close it again two years later after a series of malfunctions with the elevator.
Work on the monument first started in 1848, taking almost 40 years to complete.
It was the tallest building in the world at the time of its completion. But Eiffel Tower surpassed it in 1889.
The Monument remains the tallest building in Washington and draws about 500,000 visitors each year.