By far, one of the biggest questions asked in 2011 was “Where were you when the earthquake hit?” Originating slightly northwest of Richmond, Va. in Louisa, Va., the temblor could be felt from Rhode Island to Chapel Hill, N.C.

In response to the severe damage caused by that 5.8 magnitude earthquake to the Washington Monument, billionaire philanthropist David M. Rubenstein has decided to donate $7.5 million to assist in it’s repair.

The Washington Monument has been closed to visitors ever since Aug. 23, the day many in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area experienced their first earthquake creating cracks near the top of the 555-foot tall monument, damage to the elevator, and causing some of the stone blocks to chip. Repairs to the monument are an estimated $15 million, which Rubenstein will split with the federal government.

“On behalf of all Americans, I would like to thank David Rubenstein for his extraordinary gift to repair one of our nation’s most hallowed symbols,” said David Hayes, Deputy Secretary of the Interior in a press release. “Thanks to his patriotism and generosity, we will be able to move forward with the necessary repairs to reopen the monument to the public.”

Barely one month after pumping a much-needed $4.5 million into the National Zoo’s giant panda program, and seven months after giving $13.5 million to the National Archives, Rubenstein has proved once again that his love of maintaining all things historic and educational doesn’t stop at his wallet.

“America has been very good to me and I am humbled to be able to honor the father of our country in this way,” said Rubenstein, a New York native, in a press release. “Re-opening the monument as soon as possible will help ensure that many people get to learn about American history and the unique role that George Washington played in the birth and life of our great nation.”

Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer