The Lincoln Memorial in Washington was struck by vandals who left an expletive scrawled in red paint Tuesday morning, according to the National Park Service.
One of the memorial’s columns was spray-painted with red words that appeared to say “fuck law.” The graffiti was discovered around 4.30 a.m., the Park Service said in a statement, adding that a “mild, gel-type architectural paint stripper that is safe for use on historic stone” was being used to remove the scrawl.
Park Service spokesman Michael Litterst told The Washington Post that the removal process would be “lengthy,” likely requiring multiple treatments over a week or two.
Additional graffiti, in silver spray paint, was reportedly found over a map of the Smithsonian museums on nearby Constitution Avenue. That vandalism also is being cleaned up, said the Park Service.
This is the second time this year that the Lincoln Memorial has been defaced. In February, cryptic messages written in permanent marker ― including “Jackie shot JFK” ― were found at the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the D.C. War Memorial and the Washington Monument.
In 2013, the Lincoln Memorial had to be closed for several hours after a vandal splattered green paint all over it.
The memorial, dedicated in 1922 to President Abraham Lincoln, is one of the most popular sites on the National Mall. It has long served as a symbol of equality and national conscience, and reunification after the Civil War.