On a rainy Saturday morning, after an 18-month, $5.5 million restoration, the Washington Monument reopened to the public. It was July 4, the bicentennial anniversary of the dedication of the first architectural monument to George Washington in the United States. Here's the funny thing. That's exactly when the renovations were supposed to be completed. How often does that happen? So, let's give some credit to the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy, the nonprofit organization that raised funds for the restoration, and to Lewis Contractors, the Owings Mills-based firm that managed it.