After more than two years, the Washington Monument is reopened to public

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POSTED: Monday, May 12, 2014 - 8:00am

UPDATED: Monday, May 12, 2014 - 8:04am

The Washington Monument has been closed for more than two years while crews fixed big cracks that ripped through the stone structure during an earthquake in 2011.

They're giving out 1,800 tickets this morning for tours that start this afternoon. "There's no better view in town," said Bob Vogel, Superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks.

And starting this morning, it's open to the public again. "It is amazing to see it reopen while we are here," said Chrissy Faber, Tourist.

"Pictures don't do it justice," said Tourist James Muncy.

Repairs are done more than two and a half years after an earthquake left cracks, and debris falling from the monument.

Surrounded by scaffolding for more than a year, it took dozens of stainless steel anchors and more than two and a half miles of sealant to fix it. "The first thing the National Park Service did was literally a stone by stone survey of the monument," said James Perry, National Mall and Memorial Parks.

Plus, the elevator had to be repaired.

555 feet of marble and granite, stone that's 15 feet thick at the base, and only 7 inches at the top. "That small of a tip to be on that big of a monument is actually amazing," said 8th grade tourist Jack Donnelly.

Most of the damage was near the top. "Being able to access work 550 feet in air was really truly a challenge," said Bob Collie, Project Manager, Perini Management Service, Inc.

The new monument has all new fully-accessible exhibits, too. "People who have visual problems will have tactile experiences, and we'll use foreign languages to help tell the story of the Washington Monument," said Bob Vogel, Superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks.

Stories of the Nation's history from one of the tallest, free-standing structures in the world.

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