"From the U.S. Capitol Building to the White House, our national symbols that represent freedom to so many of us, were built by people who were anything but free."
By Alex P. Vidal
WASHINGON D.C. -- When I returned here from New York City for the fourth time on June 3, 2017, the first imposing monument that greeted me when I emerged from the Union Station was the newly-refurbished golden U.S. capitol dome.
I visited this city once in 2015 and twice in 2016, and all I could see was a fifty-two miles of metal scaffolding pipe like a wiry cage surrounding the dome's interior with functional but symmetrical lighting.
I already saw the "ugly" structure in the background of TV anchors reporting from Washington D.C. I had to visit the place personally to confirm what I saw on TV, especially when I watched Fox News and CNN.
A five-layer doughnut made of rope and fabric was also installed in the Rotunda to catch any falling debris during the repair.
It was not a good sight for tourists, in other words.
After two years of meticulous repairs led by Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers, FIFA, along with architect-of-record Hoffman Architects, the historic landmark was back to its former glory before President Donald Trump's inauguration in January 2017.
The ellipsoidal cast-iron edifice, completed in 1866, had reportedly undergone serious deterioration and suffered from water infiltration through pin holes in the Statue of Freedom.
Its exposure to rain, snow, sleet and sun reportedly caused damage to it exterior shell including: the tholos balustrade, the base of the cupola and the boilerplate balcony level.
Its last significant renovation reportedly occured more than half a century ago.
The dome was finished in three coats of paint, totaling 1,215 gallons, with the top coat color named "dome white," according to an article written by Chelsea Blahut and Wanda Lau.
According to the writers, the project was budgeted at $60 million and was completed under budget and on time.
"It was so important for us to have this project done by the presidential inauguration. We call this Capitol and the West Front our nation's stage, and as our nation's stage, it needs to be beautiful, and that's the time that everyone across this great country and across the world will be watching," Ayers was quoted as saying.
The project had reportedly improved the quality of the Capitol Dome and provides protection from the elements for the next 50 years to preserve one of the United States' most iconic structures.
I was on my way back here from New York City anew June 11, 2017 midnight.