Tuesday, August 23

Darth Vader safe and sound at National Cathedral

Skip the jokes.

The highest elevated point of Washington, D.C., the "Gloria in Excelsis" central tower of Washington National Cathedral, sustained significant damage in the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Tuesday, Aug. 23.

However, Darth Vader is safe and sound, as far as I know.

According to the Cathedral's Twitter account, "We've checked, and Darth Vader appears to be okay." 

Yes, Darth Vader.
In the 1980s, while the west towers were under construction, Washington National Cathedral held a decorative sculpture competition for children. Word of the competition was spread nationwide through National Geographic World Magazine. The third-place winner was Christopher Rader, with his drawing of that fearful villain, Darth Vader. The fierce head was sculpted by Jay Hall Carpenter, carved by Patrick J. Plunkett, and placed high upon the northwest tower of the Cathedral.
The Force is strong with this one. 

Mason Foreman Joe Alonso is currently assessing the damage to the Cathedral building with the help of other Cathedral stonemasons and structural engineers.
Three of four pinnacles (corner spires) on the central tower have been damaged. Specifically, three "finials" (capstones shaped like fleurs-de-lys) have fallen from them, with more significant damage to two of the pinnacles. Similar decorative elements on the Cathedral's exterior also appear to be damaged. Cracks have appeared in the flying buttresses around the apse at the Cathedral's east end, the first portion of the building to be constructed, but the buttresses supporting the central tower seem to be sound.
No individuals were injured either within the Cathedral or on its grounds. Despite some cracks on upper floors in the interior, no damage to the stained-glass windows has been reported. The building has been closed to visitors until further notice.

The Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation erected the cathedral (officially named the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul) under a charter passed by the U.S. Congress on Jan. 6, 1893.

Construction began on Sept. 29, 1907, when the foundation stone was laid in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt and ended 83 years later when the last finial was placed in the presence of President George H. W. Bush in 1990. The foundation operates and funds the cathedral, which is not funded by the U.S. government.

It is the sixth largest cathedral in the world, the second largest in the United States, and the fourth tallest structure in Washington, D.C. 

Coincidentally, the National Park Service says the memorials and monuments, including the new Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, were evacuated immediately after the quake.

I hope it wasn't something I said or did....

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