Soldier Suspended for 'Fun' Flag-Draped Coffin Photo Should've Known Better

A female soldier with the Wisconsin National Guard posted a photo to Instagram of herself and her colleagues goofing off at work and subsequently sparked a national outrage and a military investigation.

The controversial and tactless photograph showed a uniformed team surrounding an American flag-draped coffin, grinning and being silly (there are bunny ears in the front row), with the caption, “We put the FUN in funeral.”

Whoops. Apparently the casket was empty when the pic was snapped at an Arkansas training facility, but that hasn’t stopped the deluge of comments pouring in questioning the appropriateness of posing for something like that, let alone posting it to social media.

Guard spokesman Maj. Paul Rickert issued a statement:

The National Guard takes the responsibility for our fallen soldiers and veterans very seriously, and we expect soldiers to handle it with professionalism and honor.”Rickert also said that the soldier who posted the photo, Spc. Terry Harrison, has been “indefinitely suspended” from her position. She was a full-time funeral honor guard member of the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment in Madison.

Members of the military are allowed to post to their own social media accounts, but only if they “perform professionally and not dishonor the military.”

More from The Stir: War Hero Makes Wildly Inappropriate Jokes in His Obituary

It has to be tough to have a job that requires you to get up close and personal with your colleagues that have lost their lives, and it’s understandable that you do what you can to cope with the wretchedness of it all, but as a general rule, I’m thinking that you should leave the funeral jokes off the Internet.

This photo seems like a slap in the face to those that have lost loved ones in the line of duty, and Harrison should definitely have known better than to post it.

Wisconsin’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, also issued a statement:

We expect all of our soldiers and airmen to live by a core set of values, in word and deed ... I was appalled by the offensive photos and comments that appeared on this soldier's social media site regarding her duties as a funeral honor guard member.

It’s one thing to bitch about work. It’s another to dishonor fallen soldiers.

Do you think this photo is in poor taste?


Image via Instagram

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Frost... FrostyMelted

Tacky. Disgusting. Incredibly poor taste.

Ellen Waltos

I think that unless you have been overseas in the war and watched your brothers and sisters die no one can really understand and sometimes people make light of things to get through the day. Not the end of the world.

nonmember avatar myopinion

At least the casket was empty. When I first saw this I thought it was really someone's funeral and my heart just sank, that would have been really twisted.

nonmember avatar sowrong

Wrong on so many levels. A flag-draped casket is nothing to joke around about. Had this group posed like this without that in the photo, it wouldn't have been a big deal. But had the national guard who participated in my fathers funeral done something this tasteless- it would have been horrifying. Be respectful. There are other ways to try to lighten a sad situation- this was not one of them.

nonmember avatar Deb Obrien

Wrong wrong wrong. And frankly, I think ALL in the pic should be disciplined. I've "been there" - how would anyone feel if that was one of theirs?!

nonmember avatar pouncer

I find it disgusting that people have to always feel offended by things. I think funerals need a little humor. And if it wasnt directlt offending a deceased person and ment to be offensive get over it.

Vikki Venekamp

Come on folks. There was no body in the casket. These men and women deal with death EVERY day sometimes multiple times a day. Imagine yourself in their shoes. Yes it looks bad but I will bet you they are a standup group when their work kicks in. Give them a break. I bet if you go to a funeral home you will probably hear laughter in the background. These folks are dealing with issues you and I only occasionally and grudgingly deal with. So again,just give them a break.

nonmember avatar Chrystal

My husband who has been in the military for 24 years. Says " when you are apart of the military you are expected to be professional at all times". My husband has been to war and overseas countless of times. Has seen soldiers die has seen friends die while overseas and he would never make light of a casket or the flag. This photo is a slap in the face to all the men and women who have lost their life's and a slap in the face to these men and women's families they should all be ashamed and every single one of them should be punished. The military teaches respect and this is clearly disrespect. It's doesn't matter what terrible things someone sees you don't make light of something like this.

nonmember avatar Rachael

It wasn't just that photo. She had another saying it was too cold to have an outdoor funeral so somebody was getting a jacked up flag. So it's a habit of being unprofessional.

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