The Lincoln Memorial closed briefly on Saturday after a graduation party from a local university left the grounds of the site strewn with litter.
The National Mall branch of the National Park Service made the announcement early Saturday morning. “The Lincoln Memorial is closed this morning following a local university graduation celebration that left litter, broken bottles and spilled wine and champagne covering the steps,” the National Mall NPS tweeted around 9 a.m. Saturday morning. “We will reopen as soon as the area has been cleaned and made safe.” The tweet included a picture of the site cordoned off with barriers and caution tape, as well as a park worker sweeping up litter from the steps of the site.
The Lincoln Memorial is closed this morning following a local university graduation celebration that left litter, broken bottles and spilled wine and champagne covering the steps. We will reopen as soon as the area has been cleaned and made safe. pic.twitter.com/AVuOeoof0y
— National Mall NPS (@NationalMallNPS) May 21, 2022
The Memorial was opened later in the morning. “Thanks to our facilities staff for the quick clean up this morning,” NPS tweeted. “The Lincoln Memorial is open. We appreciate your patience.”
A spokesman for the NPS declined to publicly state which school or schools the graduates came from, but Georgetown University released a statement, via NBC 4 Washington, saying it was monitoring “the concerning and disappointing activity at the Lincoln Memorial.” Georgetown’s campus is within walking distance of the Lincoln Memorial, about two miles away from the National Mall.
“While Georgetown is one of several institutions celebrating graduation ceremonies this weekend, we have had no University-sponsored events at or around the Lincoln Memorial,” the University added. “We expect all members of our community to be responsible citizens of our campus and our city and be respectful of the history and institutions of Washington, D.C.”
Consuming alcohol is illegal on the National Mall — though the NPS spokesman said no arrests had been made.
Twitter users lamented the mess left on the steps. Many users connected the dots and called out Georgetown students as the obvious suspects:
- Derek Willis, data journalism professor: “‘local university’”
- April Reign, activist: “‘Local university’ =@Georgetown. The participants should be cleaning up their mess, and/or the school should be billed for the (government?) resources used to clean up.”
- Melissa Byrne, former Bernie Sanders presidential campaign surrogate: “@Georgetown this you?”
- Lucas Tomlinson, Fox News Pentagon Reporter: “Georgetown University students blamed for mess at Lincoln Memorial, sources say.”
- Ajit Pai, former FCC Chairman: “In 2010, Georgetown University ‘committed to three campus-wide [environmental] principles,’ the first being ‘[d]emonstrating respect for nature and society.’ The university president said these commitments were made ‘to minimize our environmental impact.’”
- Katrina Kincade, reporter, WBZ Boston: “Bruh. This is so disappointing. As someone who went to school in DC, none of this ‘celebration’ was necessary for your grad pics.”
- Lindsay Watts, journalist, Fox 5 DC: “Terrible that workers have to be out cleaning up in this heat because of stupid behavior!”
The incident also comes on the heels of the Lincoln Memorial’s Centennial celebration, which is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. Sunday morning. According to the Lincoln Memorial’s official website, the celebration, entitled “Building on Lincoln’s Vision of Unity and Equality” and hosted by the Lincoln Group of DC in conjunction with the National Park Service, will “highlight the full range of meaning behind the Lincoln Memorial, from its original meaning as a memorial to Lincoln’s life and contribution as savior of the Union to becoming a symbol of civil rights.”