National Cathedral Takes Precautions Against Future Earthquakes

After experiencing a shake-up in the earthquake that hit Virginia last week, officials at the Washington National Cathedral have taken extra precautions to guard against potential danger from future earthquakes.

The Washington National Cathedral has installed safety nets beneath the ceiling to guard against falling debris in the event of a future earthquake after the Aug. 23 rattler that shook much of the East Coast. The earthquake caused damage to the landmark building and resulted in chips of mortar raining down from the vaulted ceiling.

"We don't anticipate any additional elements to fall," cathedral spokesman Richard Weinberg told The Washington Times. He added that the netting was strictly a safeguard in case of another earthquake.

The earthquake caused major cracks in the building, which took 83 years to complete, as well as damage to three of four spires on the 300-foot tall central tower. Officials say the building is still structurally sound, and that repairs are estimated to cost millions of dollars.

The Archdiocese of Washington announced Thursday that it will donate $25,000 to the cathedral for repairs.

The rare East Coast temblor was centered about 40 miles from Richmond, Va., yet was felt from Georgia to Canada. The Washington Monument also was damaged, and parts of the Capitol building, White House, and Pentagon were evacuated during the quake.

The safety netting was fully installed Thursday. The gothic cathedral will reopen next week and will host a three-day commemoration event for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

President Barck Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will spend the evening of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack at the cathedral for an interfaith prayer and concert service.

Obama's spokesman, Jay Carney, said Tuesday that the president would give a speech at the event, which is called "A Concert for Hope."

The president and the first lady will visit New York, the Pentagon near Washington, and the Pennsylvania town of Shanksville, the three sites of the September 11 plane crashes.

As a tribute to those who lost their lives as well as those who served in response to the disaster, Obama urged Americans to participate in acts of charity in his weekly address Saturday. He also called for the anniversary to be a National Day of Remembrance and Service.

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