Lindsay Stone’s free speech gesture at Arlington National Cemetery may end up costing her dearly — in the form of a complete loss of respect. Photos of her recent trip to the famous site actually show her giving the middle-finger salute at the Tomb Of The Unknowns. Oops!
Let me tell you, I have gone through the stages of grief with this one.
It all began when Stone, who works for a non-profit for disabled adults called LIFE, visited the nation’s most famous military burial site. Thousands of brave men and women have been buried there, and millions visit annually to pay their respects. For those who might not know, there is a section of the cemetery for service men who died in combat but were never identified or claimed by relatives.
That’s where the viral photo was taken (above), and that’s why people are pissed.
From there things went downhill. The picture started flying around the web, and rumor has it that a military veteran with PTSD started a Facebook page called “Fire Lindsay Stone,” with a motto that reads “only accept termination.” It has thousands of likes and seems to have actually caught on because Stone and her co-worker are now on unpaid leave from their job.
The organization quickly issued a statement separating themselves from Stone’s actions, which apparently occurred on one of the group’s trips. LIFE called the photo a “disservice to veterans.”
The only person who has spoke for Lindsay is her father, who said that she was “full of regret” and that “she wasn’t reacting to the place, she was reacting to the sign and she apologizes to everybody.”
My take on this one is that there are a few factors that put her on the wrong side of things. First off, it’s low class to make an obscene gesture at a cemetery, but to do it at Arlington in front of the Tomb Of The Unknowns is worse.
But when you think for a second, you might recognize that her ability to express herself — even when it’s despicable — is a liberty that has been protected by the very people buried there. Maybe she’s guilty of being ironic. It may seem innocent, but it could have hurt many people’s feelings, especially the families of those who have loved ones buried there.
LIFE should give her the can, but after that, we should all move on.
How do you feel? Check out some Lindsey Stone photos while you’re at it.