Arlington Cemetery Photo – Cause for Outrage?

Arlington Cemetery Photo – Cause for Outrage?

A photo circulating around the social sites this past week has sparked outrage.  Social media site users, the media, and members of the military are demanding action – many requesting that the subject of the photo lose her job.

The photo in question is of Lindsey Stone, a 30 year old business traveler “joking around” at Arlington National Cemetery, right in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Stone’s co-worker snapped a photo of her pretending to shout and raising her middle finger next to a sign asking for both silence and respect:

Our apologies for the offensive nature of this image.

I’m guessing that Stone thought she was being funny, defying the sign.  What she likely didn’t think about, however, are all of those that she disrespected with her actions.  The soldiers buried at Arlington, the soldiers currently away from their families, any soldier – past or present, and all of their friends and families.  She likely didn’t think about all of our military members who will be spending the holidays away from their families this year in order to protect the very right that allows her to behave this way. She also probably did not think about the fact that this single moment in time could very likely cost Stone her job.

Stone was traveling for work.  She works for the LIFE organization, a non-profit that provides housing for people with disabilities around Cape Cod.  Although both Stone and her employer declined to comment, Stone did share on her Facebook page that she was not disrespecting the place she was in, she was merely “challenging authority in general. Much like the pic posted the night before, of me smoking right next to a no smoking sign.” and LIFE issued the following statement: “This photograph in no way reflects the opinions or values of the LIFE organization, which holds our nation’s veterans in the highest regard.”

The Old Guard, who is tasked with protecting the Tomb of the Unknowns, stated that Stone is entitled to her freedom of speech, and that her photo deserves no further comment.

I disagree.  Let’s talk about this one.  Does Stone deserve to lose her job?  She was traveling for work, and a coworker took the photo.  Are we blowing this out of proportion?

5 Comments for “Arlington Cemetery Photo – Cause for Outrage?”
  1. I don’t think she should lose her job because of it if this particular piece of her trip wasn’t work related – maybe this happened during her time off from her work day and coworkers can be friends so…. but I do think it was a poor choice to “disrespect” authority at such a place.
    I also think it is a little redundant to have a sign such as that one, why do we constantly “educate” people on how to behave, people should know better and behave accordingly at the Tomb.

  2. The Old Guard is exactly right. Every person in that cemetery served to allow individuals (however misguided and inappropriate they may be) to express their opinion.

  3. As a military child, I am offended by the picture. That being said, I don’t feel she should lose her job over the picture if it was taken “off duty”.

  4. Those that she is disrespecting died fighting for her right to express herself freely. However, that goes both ways and now she will see that the rest of the country has the right to express their views on her actions.

  5. I’m a Vet, but I don’t claim to speak on behalf of all Vets. Those souls buried in Arlington did, indeed, sacrifice a great deal to preserve the freedoms we all enjoy.

    It’s important to remember that each one of us is allowed to express our beliefs – even this young lady as well as those who agree or disagree with her.

    I’m reminded of this quote by Robert Jackson: “The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with a good deal of rubbish.”

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