Why the Washington Monument Went Dark

By ZeWrestler - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28468305

When the Washington Monument suddenly blacked out on Sunday, social media users were disturbed by the normally bright-white obelisk’s lighting being reduced to two “creepy” red and green aircraft warning lights blinking at the top point.

Area residents began taking photos of the phenomenon, one user took a shaky photo from across the Potomac River, calling the darkened pillar “super creepy.”

While another tweeter posted an eerie close up and reported authorities were looking into the issue. Commenters theories poured in, from “It was keeping Joe up at night,” to an “energy shortage due to the cancellation of the XL pipeline,” and “Someone forgot to clap on.”

As did the colorful commentary. “Probably because it feels dead inside; like the rest of us,” said a replier. “The light at “The End” of the tunnel has also gone out,” cracked another. “Democracy dies in darkness,” said a follower.

The National Park Service (NPS)’s Twitter account posted that it had no idea why the monument was dark and launched an investigation. The monument was closed on Jan. 11 ahead of President Biden’s inauguration, and the closure was extended on Saturday to “protect staff and visitors from COVID-19.” “Didn’t expect the institutional dysfunction to accelerate quite this quickly,” one commenter replied.

On Monday, the NPS figured out a faulty part in the time clock had failed to turn the lights on and off on Sunday. The part is being replaced and the monument’s lights will be operated manually until it’s fixed. One user hilariously replied, “Time Clock about $100 and a hour to change. Government doing it, probably priceless.”