- The Washington Times - Monday, July 5, 2004

A rainy Fourth of July made for a quick and easy cleanup that allowed the National World War II Memorial on the Mall to reopen a day early.

The memorial initially was supposed to remain closed yesterday, but it reopened to the public at noon.

The memorial was in the fallout range for debris from the fireworks display on the Mall. Officials closed it for the Fourth of July to ensure visitors’ safety and to protect the monument from damage.

“This was the first year the National Park Service had the dual function of dealing with the fireworks and the protection of the newly opened World War II memorial,” said Bill Line, a spokesman for the National Park Service. “Because it was our first time, we didn’t know precisely how long it would take to remove the tarps and clean the memorial.”

Mr. Line attributed the Park Service’s swift cleanup to favorable weather conditions. “Because of the lack of wind [Sunday] night, the debris and ash fell only in a small area by the memorial, and we were able to clean up that area rather quickly,” he said.

“In future years, the weather may not be so favorable to the Park Service, so we may not be able to clean the memorial as quickly as we did this year,” he said. “Therefore, it is difficult to predict that we will be able to reopen the memorial as quickly as we did this year. … Some things are just out of your control.”

Crews began removing trash from the Mall almost immediately after the fireworks display concluded Sunday night.

“At least a dozen garbage trucks were deployed at approximately 10 p.m.,” Mr. Line said.

“The fireworks ended at 9:30, and we wanted to give people at least a half-hour to clear out of the area.”

Visitors were impressed with the Park Service’s efficiency.

Gader Wall, 49, of Arlington, said he saw the Park Service bring in garbage trucks, with six or seven workers to a truck, late Sunday night. “They picked up everything that people threw down,” he said.

“Considering all the people and rain we had, the Park Service really did a good job,” said Ronald Kemp, 49, of Southwest. “I was down on the Mall at 8 a.m. this morning and it was clean.”

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