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.”
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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