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Why is the D.C. Reflecting Pool Empty?
The Lincoln Memorial site has a problem
This is peak tourist season in Washington, D.C. because of spring break and the cherry blossoms. As tourists crowd the National Mall, they’re discovering that there is no water in the Reflecting Pool that sits next to the Lincoln Memorial and reflects the Washington Monument.
Social media is abuzz with people guessing why the pool has been empty for a month. I asked a spokesman for the National Park Service and made this YouTube video below to answer all your questions:
The pool was first drained in February for the annual cleaning and repair. At the beginning, there was an orange sign at one corner of the pool to tell people not to walk in it.
Like most people, I didn’t see the sign when I ran through it from the other end. (People are still yelling at me in the comments on Facebook for it.)
The sign was taken away after the cleaning was completed. Now everyone is using the empty pool as a playground — skating, biking, running, walking and playing football.
The National Park Service operates the Reflecting Pool. I asked Chief of Communications for the National Mall and Memorial Parks Mike Litterst why the pool was not refilled. He said:
We scheduled the replacement of a leaky pipe to take place while the Reflecting Pool was empty and that is proving to be more difficult than anticipated. We will refill the pool as soon as the pipe replacement has been completed.
The Reflecting Pool is best known for a scene in the movie “Forest Gump” (in the video above.) Forest and his girlfriend Jenny find each other at an anti-war rally and run through the water and hug.
Looking at the construction on-site, it does not look like the leaky pipe will be fixed soon.
So if you’re visiting Washington, make sure to get your pictures inside the Reflecting Pool while it’s still empty.
I run past the pool several days a week and have been posting videos to social media of the progress. This Facebook reel and this Instagram reel have gotten 300,000 views because of all the interest in the empty pool. Follow me on those platforms or Twitter for updates on the pool status.
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