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Lincoln Memorial temporarily closed to clean mess left by celebrating university graduates

NPS claims celebrating graduates left broken bottles, spilled wine and champagne covering the steps of the national monument.

WASHINGTON — A moment of happiness and celebration at the Lincoln Memorial turned into a headache for workers with the National Park Services.

The Lincoln Memorial was temporarily closed to the public Saturday morning after celebrating university graduates reportedly left a mess on the steps of the monument, a National Park Service (NPS) official said.

NPS tweeted a photo of the closure Saturday, claiming the graduation celebration left broken bottles, spilled wine and champagne covering the steps of the national monument.

"We will reopen as soon as the area has been cleaned and made safe," NPS said on Twitter. 

Facilities staff worked through the morning and was able to clean the mess within a few hours. The Lincoln Memorial reopened around 11:30 a.m. 

NPS did not say which school the celebrating graduates appeared to be from when the memorial was left trashed, however, many online theorize the students could be from Georgetown University. 

WUSA9 reached out to Georgetown about the rumors and a spokesperson responded calling the incident "concerning and disappointing." The spokesperson said Georgetown is just one of many universities having ceremonies this weekend and that the school has no University-sponsored events at or around the Lincoln Memorial. 

“We are monitoring the concerning and disappointing activity at the Lincoln Memorial. 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. 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.”

Many people on Twitter reacted to the leftover trash. Some asked if there was a way for the public to help, while others suggested naming the university and making the school pay for the cost of the clean-up. 

The closure comes one day before the Lincoln Memorial’s centennial celebration, a free public ceremony at 10:00 a.m. Sunday hosted by Lincoln Group of DC, in partnerships with the National park service. The purpose of the celebration is to highlight in word and music the memorial's meaning to American society.

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