- (Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
The Washington National Cathedral will reopen the weekend of Sept. 11 after sustaining damage from last week's earthquake.
President Obama will be delivering the keynote address at the historic cathedral on Sept. 11 as the nation marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
"In the days following the 9/11 attacks, our nation came together to pray, reflect, and mourn. Washington National Cathedral was honored to serve as the spiritual home for our nation during those tragic, uncertain times. Now, a decade later, we come together again to remember the victims and heroes of 9/11 as well as the nearly 6,000 service members whose lives have since been lost in Iraq and Afghanistan," the cathedral announced.
"This is a time to honor, to heal, and for hope."
The Washington National Cathedral, one of the largest in the world, has been closed since the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that shook the East Coast on Aug. 23.
Several of the pinnacles on the main tower of the cathedral fell off during the quake and cracks on the upper floors inside the church were also found.
Sunday services were held at the Washington Hebrew Congregation. Sept. 4 worship services will again be held at the nearby sanctuary.
"We are grateful to our neighbors of faith for their hospitality, generosity, and most importantly, their prayers, as we face the enormous challenge of restoring damaged areas of the Cathedral,” said Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III., in a statement Thursday.
Also offering aid, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington donated $25,000 to help with repairs at the cathedral.
According to Lloyd, the cost of the damage is estimated to reach millions of dollars.
As evaluation of the damage continues, engineers are implementing measures to ensure safety at the cathedral before it reopens on Friday, Sept. 9, for the events – spanning three days – commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
One of the safety measures includes netting across the cathedral's vaults to catch any other pieces of the structure if they were to fall, head stonemason Joe Alonso told CNN.
"What had happened in the earthquake is the ceiling shook and some of the mortar between some of the joints in the stonework up above shook loose," he explained. "This is just a precaution."