Flipping the bird at a “Silence and Respect” sign at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery has proved to be a bitter lesson for one woman and her friend. Less than twenty-four hours ago, I wrote about this woman who thought it was funny to put a picture on Facebook of giving the finger and pretending to shout at a “Silence and Respect” sign. In the less than twenty-four hours since I posted this piece, there have been quite a few developments.
First to note is that she and the woman who took the picture were placed on administrative leave from their jobs. Initially, there was a lot of outcry about posting on her employer’s website and Facebook page; it was seen as being unfair to embroil them in this controversy due to the extra-curricular activities of a mere employee. This was not the an action of an owner, director or board member, so it was said, and the organization as a whole should not suffer negatively because of all this. At the time of my initial post, I was aware of a rumor that this picture was taken on a work-related trip, but without confirmation of that fact, didn’t feel comfortable sharing it. This woman, however, was certainly aware she was in Washington DC only because she was sent there by her employer. So, this begs the question, Is there a single employee anywhere that does not know that their behavior on a company sponsored
trip is subject to just as much scrutiny, and carries just as many consequences, as actions taken in the office?
Just to be clear, this was not a knee-jerk response on her employer’s part. While the exact conversation will never be known, a few key pieces of that led to their decision have been explained. Beyond the obvious that this is an organization that provides care for vulnerable individuals and the judgment of those entrusted with their care is of paramount concern is the
fact that several of her superiors are former military. Oh, and we can’t forget, she did this while on company time and the company dime.
Next in this ongoing saga her father apologized, saying it was just a momentary lapse in judgment. He said that this error, is completely not in character with his daughter’s normal behavior. Then this woman, and her friend who took the picture, released the statement below. In my previous post, I refrained from naming her or her employer, but since this story has now run on USA Today, the New York Daily News and a host of other media outlets, I’ve chosen not to remove her name from the letter.
“We sincerely apologize for all the pain we have caused by posting the picture we took in Washington DC on Facebook. While posted on a public forum, the picture was intended only for our own amusement.
We never meant any disrespect to any of the people nationwide who have served this country and defended our freedom so valiantly. It was meant merely as a visual pun, intending to depict the exact opposite of what the sign said, and had absolutely nothing to do with the location it was taken or the people represented there.
We never meant to cause any harm or disrespect to anyone, particularly our men and women in uniform. We realize it was in incredibly poor taste, and are deeply sorry for the offense we have caused.
We would also like to apologize to LIFE, Inc. It is an amazing organization that provides invaluable services to adults with learning and developmental disabilities. We are beyond remorseful that our actions have caused them such undue public scrutiny. The disrespect implied by our picture has nothing at all to do with LIFE's mission statement or values. We regret having caused any suffering to the staff members, residents, families and friends.
Again,we very sincerely apologize to everyone who took offense to the photo. We realize that it was an ignorant and distasteful thing for us to do, but we truly meant no harm. We are deeply sorry.”
At the end of all this, and I think for this woman and her friend we are far from the end, I actually feel just a little bit sorry for them. I don’t feel bad they are facing consequences beyond anything they could have imagined, just that they didn’t have the maturity to imagine the potential consequences of what to many went beyond the pale of stupidity into the realm
There has been one positive development from this whole sorry, sordid mess. The vast majority of the thousands of military and former military who have commented on various articles and postings of this story are if not mollified, at least on some level satisfied; not by any of the consequences these women have and will continue to face, but that the reaction of the civilian world. People who are not connected by the bonds of blood or brotherhood to those laid to rest at Arlington are as outraged as they have been by this disgraceful, disrespectful act. This is something to be grateful for, and there are many military families who will remember this outpouring of support tomorrow, as we all give thanks for the privilege of the freedoms they and generations of their brothers and sisters have fought, bled and died to defend. They willingly defended us in life and in turn, we have defended them in death.
See the original post here –