White House relocates from National Cathedral after safety fears

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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White House officials announced that 9/11 commemoration events scheduled to take place at the Washington National Cathedral this weekend have been relocated to the Kennedy Center. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and President Barack Obama are scheduled to attend two of those events.

The change of venue comes after a construction crane involved in repairing damage the Cathedral sustained in a recent earthquake fell over Wednesday. No one was seriously injured in the accident, but the crane operator was treated and released from a local hospital with minor injuries.

The Washington National Cathedral itself didn’t sustain any additional damage when the crane toppled, but other buildings on the grounds did.

“We are grateful that there were no serious injuries in the crane accident, and while we are disappointed that we will not be able to host our ‘Call to Compassion’ commemoration in the Cathedral itself, we are determined to live out our mission to serve as the spiritual home for the nation as we remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001,” Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III said in a statement the White House released on Thursday.

“The safety of our visitors and the staff of the Cathedral is our top priority,” Lloyd added, “and we will make no compromises when it comes to that responsibility. At the same time we will not let obstacles put in our way stop us from fulfilling our mission as the spiritual home for the nation.”

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