Many people in the United States take their country’s military very seriously, and hold high expectations and respect for the soldiers who populate it. So, when something is deemed disrespectful to soldiers, the armed forces, or veterans, there are often waves of angry individuals who raise their voices in protest and anger against the people who disrespect those who serve the country. The situation becomes muddled, however, when the people who instigated the act of disrespect are, themselves, soldiers for the United States.
One such instance of this conundrum has made itself apparent today. When the photo above was posted by Terry Harrison, a soldier from the Madison, Wisconsin-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment, to her Instagram profile, it was accompanied by the caption, “We put the FUN in funeral — your fearless honor guard from various states.” The photo quickly spread and caused an outrage of massive proportions; the original post, as well as Harrison’s account, was deleted, and Harrison has been placed under protection after death threats were made against her on social media sites.
People who have taken offense to the photo have claimed that it shows blatant disregard and lack of respect for fallen soldiers and veterans. Judy Vincent, and Oklahoma resident and mother of a fallen soldier, expressed disgust with the photograph after seeing it re-posted on Facebook. “It was like somebody slapped me in the face. I’ve never in my life seen such disrespect for the fallen or the families,” she was quoted as saying. She elaborated further, saying, “It raises questions in your mind. What did they think of me and was my loved one treated with disrespect?”
Vincent is just one of the hundreds of people who flocked to the Wisconsin National Guard’s Facebook page, leaving angry comments and asking that the soldiers involved be disciplined. The investigation is currently on-going, as many of the soldiers in the picture were from other units. Harrison has been suspended from the Honor Guard and is performing other duties as the investigation continues.
Regardless of one’s personal opinions concerning the levels of respect (or lack there of) present in the photo, it must be said that the people involved are soldiers, as well, and demand a certain level of respect, as well, even in light of such a blunder. Death threats are almost never appropriate, after all, especially when made against soldiers.