The Lincoln Memorial was closed early Friday morning after police discovered that someone had splashed green paint on the iconic 19-foot tall statue shortly before 1:30 a.m. A National Park Service spokesperson said that there appeared to be no permanent damage to the statue. The memorial’s portico reopened this afternoon after the cleanup was complete.
Honest Abe is a beloved national hero. Historians consistently rank him as one of our best presidents, and the Lincoln Memorial holds an important place in American history as the site where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. The online reaction to the brazen act of vandalism ranged from despair to anger to disbelief.”There’s not many things left in the country that could be considered sacrosanct..but this would have to have been one of the few,” wrote one Huffington Post reader. “Shame on whoever did this.”
CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin said on air that the defacement “made her furious.” Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Bill and Hillary, tweeted that it was “very upsetting” using the hashtag #Protectthemall.
“Unreal! What is happening to this country?” tweeted Shari Starkey. And @Trinaelephant tweeted, “Someone vandalized the Lincoln Memorial? Here’s an idea. You don’t like the country, then LEAVE.”
I used to live and work in Washington, D.C. and the Lincoln Memorial was one of my favorite places to take visitors or to visit alone, especially late at night when few tourists are around. Police say they are reviewing surveillance footage to determine who committed the crime and I pray that the perpetrator or perpetrators of this senseless act of vandalism are caught and given swift, harsh justice.
Vandalism is typically a crime that merits just a slap on the wrist, but I hope the perpetrators do some time. Perhaps a little time behind bars would give them an opportunity to brush up on their American history. What do you think is an appropriate punishment for defacing this cherished memorial?