On Tuesday afternoon, August 23, as I lay in my bed at George Washington Hospital in Washington, DC, thinking happy thoughts and recovering from my car crash the day before, a 5.9 earthquake centered in nearby Virginia rumbled through our region. My hospital bed shook, I heard some rattling, and I knew it was an earthquake. As long as the building doesn’t collapse, I thought, I was in a pretty good place.
I was lucky. Less than a mile away, tourists were enjoying the glorious eagle’s view from the top of the 555-foot-high Washington Monument on a perfect late summer afternoon. Their experience of the quake, as you can see in this recently released security tape, was a lot scarier than mine. From the top, the shaking was obviously severe, and surely frightened the daylights out of the trapped, vulnerable tourists. Here’s a taste of how they experienced it.
I’ve called events of the past month or so — trip of a lifetime in the Pacific Northwest, auto accident, hospitalization, earthquake, hurricane, sale of my old company — a “roller coaster ride.” All things considered, I’m counting my lucky stars.
By the way, the Park Service announced yesterday that the Washington Monument will be closed “indefinitely” while they assess and repair damage from the earthquake.