I just came back from a trip to Washington DC. Having previously visited the city, this time we decided to go visit Arlington National Cemetery. As my husband, best friend and her family toured the historic and beautiful place where so many of our veterans and their loved ones are buried, I noticed one thing.
People taking selfies everywhere.
People snapping photos smiling in front of JFK and Jackie Kennedy’s grave, who are also buried with two of their babies that died too soon, smiling from ear to ear as their friends jokingly told them to show some teeth.
Selfies aren’t meant for graveyards.
As the wife of a veteran, who has the possibility of being buried at Arlington next to my husband if we choose that path, I was very disgusted. I thought it was utterly disrespectful. Taking a photo in front of the grave of an American that fought for and died for our country is beyond rude to me.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen such a thing. Last fall, when I visited the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan with my parents, my dad pointed out to me the numerous people leaning back over the names of the fallen and snapping smiling photos of the massive hole with a beautiful water fall where one of the towers once stood and so many people lost their lives on that fateful date in 2001.
And before you go and blame millennials, there were people of all ages participating in this endeavor.
My last stop on my trip to DC this year, we went to the Battle of Antietam (9/17/1862) battle ground and museum. 22,717 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed, wounded or missing from this Civil War encounter. It was the bloodiest day in the history of the United States.
Also there, were modern Americans taking selfies among the soiled and hallowed ground.
Authors note: Taking photos of historic places and monuments of remembrance is important. Even in some cases, a photo standing in front of such places should be encouraged, especially if you had a family member die in that battle or at that site. But, always in a solemn and honorable manner. Be respectful. Remember the history. Have some class.