2017, March 7: Lady Liberty's Lights Out
On March 7, 2017, as early as 7:30PM, people were posting pictures of a highly unusual event... the Statue of Liberty in New York City, New York, USA, which was normally fully lit at night by spotlights, had gone dark.
Photos from the internet [Larger versions here]
The strange blackout lasted for around four hours, the lights turning back on just around 11:30PM that night... too late to stop a wide variety of guesses regarding both the cause of the outage and the possible meanings.
The gigantic statue was a gift from France to the United States dedicated on October 28, 1886. Properly named "Liberty Enlightening the World," the statute represents the Greek goddess Libertas. It has become highly symbolic in the United States for not just the concept of liberty, but also that of freedom and of new beginnings. The island the statue stands on, Ellis Island, served as the gateway for new immigrants to the United States from 1892 to 1954.
The night the Statue of Liberty went dark occurred less than two months into the Presidency of Donald Trump who, at the time, had the lowest popularity ratings of any President ever. Investigations into possible illegal contacts with Russia embattled the President and his cabinet, and nationwide protests over his policies -- especially various immigration bans -- were becoming commonplace. The night of the statue's darkening was, in fact, just before a protest called "A Day Without Women," wherein women through the country were encouraged to not work or spend money for the day, to demonstrate the active power of both the female workforce and the female economic influence.
Given all of this,the timing of the blackout was described as "just too perfect," for it was loaded with ready symbolism. Many speculated early into the event that the darkening of the Statue of Liberty might be a purposeful event, meant either as a protest against Trump's immigration ban against Muslims or his aggressive deportation of illegal immigrants to Mexico, or perhaps as a show of solidarity for the Day Without Women protest on the following day. Others worried that, purposeful or not, the event was "an ominous sign of the times," a portent of combative and hard times coming.
By March 8, the blackout was being explained by the National Park Services as caused by an accidental timer setting. The Statue of Liberty was scheduled to receive a new emergency generator for its electricity in the week following, and a timer was installed to turn the lights off during the work... so, apparently, someone set the timer wrong. Of course, the National Park Service represents one of the earliest groups to begin protesting against some of Trump's policies, so their involvement will always leave open a question of whether or not the dark night was purposeful. And if it was actually accidental, the timing of the occurrence is remarkable.
We can only hope that the night of Dark Liberty is not a foreboding of worse times to come.