One year ago today was the 2011 Virginia Earthquake. I had safely left the region exactly one month before, and my reaction was a bit mixed; part of me was sorry to have missed such excitement and part of me was very glad to have missed it.
Now if you live in California, you might have pooh-poohed the media reaction of such an event — or you might have shown great empathy. Some of you have been through much worse that this particular earthquake!
But before you write it off as overblown, consider being at the 500-foot level of the Washington Monument during an earthquake. This security footage from the National Park Service will help you envision what it was like:
NPS security footage from the 500-ft level of the Washington Monument during 2011 earthquake
My embedding failed (should have worked, as this is from Wikipedia Commons and is public domain), so you will need to click the link.
At one point during this video, you will see a man in a hat come back up the stairs. He is a National Park Service employee who was following NPS protocol, going down to open the emergency door and returning up to ensure that everyone had safely made it out.
There are 2 other NPS security videos available to watch. All of them show debris falling from above. I imagine it was pretty scary to be up in that tower!