The obelisk that has been a main attraction on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall for 130 years and the beverage traditionally served in an hourglass bottle are both iconic American symbols. They have delighted Americans and visitors from all over the world since the late 1800’s. Construction of the monument was completed in 1884, and just two years later Dr. John Stith Pemberton invented Coca-Cola.

Washington Monument Restoration

It was with a sense of national pride, therefore, that Coca-Cola employees witnessed the reopening of the Washington Monument, which had been closed to the public since suffering significant damage caused by an earthquake on Aug. 23, 2011.

Coca-Cola came together with long-time partners Trust for the National Mall and the National Park Service to make the reopening of D.C.’s centerpiece a special occasion. Guests enjoyed refreshing DASANI water on an uncharacteristically warm spring day and learned about recycling with the help of an interactive exhibit that included games, videos and prizes. Coca-Cola, Trust for the National Mall and the National Park Service have been recycling partners since 2010, when the three organizations launched the first ongoing recycling program on the National Mall.

Washington Monument Restoration

Al Roker, TODAY show weather anchor and author, got the crowd going as the event’s master of ceremonies, with help from American Idol Season 12 winner Candice Glover. He was joined by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, philanthropist David Rubenstein, and National Mall & Memorial Parks Superintendent Bob Vogel.

The monument restoration would not have been possible without the generosity of David Rubenstein, who donated $7.5 million to match the funds allocated by Congress to repair the monument. To see all the hard work that went into restoring D.C.’s centerpiece to its former glory, check out this slideshow from photographer Colin Winterbottom.

And if you couldn’t make it to the Washington Monument reopening, the Trust for the National Mall still wants to bring a family of four to Washington, D.C. for the Fourth of July! To enter, visit and answer, “What does the National Mall mean to you?”