I want to share this e-mail I received from my son, Chris (who as my readers know, is a very frequent contributor to this blog!)
Please bear with me for sending this type of mass-email, but I wanted to reach out to folks who have shared my love of the cathedral. If you're receiving this, you have experienced the cathedral with me in one form or another---mostly through photography or my private guided tours. You know what a magnificent, special and inspirational place the cathedral is. As a volunteer there for 16 years now, my heart sank with today's distressing news.
As you may know by now, the cathedral suffered some significant masonry damages from the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia today. The early reports were far from complete; damage was not limited to just 2 or 3 pinnacles as first reported. Several pinnacles are now broken apart and dangerously out of alignment, or missing entirely. One or two flying buttress arms, and some wall areas have developed cracks. A falling chunk of heavy limestone masonry actually punched a hole clear through the metal-clad roof.
Fortunately nobody was injured. Masons and engineers are now examining the building in detail to determine the extent of structural vs. cosmetic damages. But the painful truth is the number of critical repairs now facing the cathedral, and more importantly, the alarming price tag that effort will undoubtedly carry. As you know, the cathedral was built without taxpayer or Federal funding, and this landmark is still privately funded through gifts and donations today.
I would be remiss as a volunteer (as well as someone who cherishes the cathedral) if I didn't ask everyone that I know, who has enjoyed the cathedral with me over the years, to consider making a donation of any size to the repair efforts. (Donations of all sizes, from pennies to generous gifts, are what built the cathedral.) Please visit www.nationalcathedral.
org for the latest news, damage photos and updates on the repair efforts, as well as a link to donate. And please forward this to any interested and/or concerned colleagues, camera clubs, etc., as you deem appropriate.
I won't trouble you with additional emails about this; I merely want to get the word out to as many people as I can. Thank you for your consideration and for spreading the word, and thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide to the cathedral's repair efforts.