Woman Who Disrespected Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier Gets Canned

Lindsey-Stone

While on a business trip to Washington DC to, among other things, visit the Arlington National Cemetary a woman named Lindsey Stone took a picture of herself doing this near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and posted it to Facebook:

Not surprisingly, Stone’s photo prompted no small amount of outrage and has now resulted in her employer canning her and a co-worker who helped take the picture:

Lindsey Stone, the Plymouth, Massachusetts woman who posted a photo of herself giving the middle finger in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, creating a firestorm of Internet backlash and outrage, was fired from her job Wednesday. …

The photo, which has been taken down, was first posted last month on Stone’s personal Facebook page, and showed Stone giving the middle finger while pretending to yell next to a sign that read “Silence and Respect” at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery.

Some, like Robert Johnson writing at Business Insider, don’t think Stone should have been fired noting that this sort of freedom of expression is part of what American soldiers fight to defend:

Stone was at the cemetery on an office trip. She’s pretending to be neither silent or respectful next to a sign that demands she be both. As in, “Look it says I can’t. But I am.” I get it. I remember standing on the wall of a deep gorge in high school that had the words Do Not Stand here painted on it. I took a picture of my shoe beside them. These are silly, immature, little rebellions.

More importantly, if Lindsey Stone wants to rip on the Tomb of the Unknowns, me, my service, or the hundreds of mutilated troops I served with at Walter Reed Medical Center, she should be able to do so without fear of retribution. Freedom like that is what we fought for, and respecting other opinions is part of what the military tried to teach all of us who served.

There’s a lot of truth in that.

Others have stated that we go too far in our “unequivocal, unhesitating adulation” of the military. That’s true too.

But what Lindsey Stone did wasn’t some reasoned critique of the military. She behaved herself like a jackhole at a national monument dedicated to the solemn remembrance of the sacrifices our military has made.

And nobody was trying to silence Stone’s “speech.” There is no law against what she did. She wasn’t arrested, nor was her getting canned the result of government pressure. She was fired for boorish behavior on a trip paid for by her employer on which she was tasked with acting as a representative for her employer.

Lindsey Stone is free to behave like a jackass, even at Arlington Cemetary. But her employer is also free to downsize the number of jackasses they have working for them.

Free speech is an important context, especially in the context of unpopular speech. And blind adulation of our military is no virtue. But let’s not allow those issues to obfuscate what Stone was: A victim of her own stupidity.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Roy_Bean

    “Lindsey Stone is free to behave like a jackass, even at Arlington
    Cemetary. But her employer is also free to downsize the number of
    jackasses they have working for them.”

    That pretty much covers it.

    • borborygmi

      yep

    • jimmypop

      yup. she was fired, not arrested. good for them for canning her. and good for her for having the right to do this. in most countries shed be dead by the hands of The Dear Leader now.

      • matthew

        not good for her….she needs to respect us and what we have done for her and her country.

    • matthew

      she is not free to behave as a jackass in the presence of such a sacred monument.

  • ‘Tom Crawford

    She was there as a representative of her company, acting on behalf of her company and while there, the company decided her actions do not reflect what this company wanted to show or how they wanted to be represented – so she got fired.

    I completely agree with you – She is a victim of her own stupidity.

    Though, as an after-thought, should the person who took the photograph have been fired as well? Someone else, not in the picture, took the photo but she uploaded to her facebook account, and yet the un-named person who took the photo was fired as well….this part I do not agree with.

    • Spartacus

      The woman that took the photo is just as much at fault as Stone. If she hadn’t taken the picture, or even if she had and not given Stone a copy to post on Facebook the outfit they worked for wouldn’t have received all the negative publicity they’ve been getting over the past week or so. Actions have consequences.

      • ‘Tom Crawford

        I don’t agree. the person took the picture, nothing more. The person, as far as I can see, was not named, so there was no real link between the company and this person. Taking a picture, or even being linked or with someone acting like an idiot should not be a reason to be fired.

        It seems as if you saying it is Guilt by association, I don’t agree with that. Same as, if you are with someone who got busted for doing drugs, you don’t get arrested for drug use as well just because you are with them.

        • Spartacus

          “so there was no real link between the company and this person.”

          I’ve been following this story elsewhere and on facebook. She was named and confirmed to work for the same company. How else would the company Stone worked for fire her too? A modicum of deductive reasoning should have led you to the answer.

          As for guilt by association, it is often prosecutable under the title “harboring a common nuisance”.

          • ‘Tom Crawford

            Never heard anyone charged with harboring a common nuisance

          • banjo kid

            while sitting in your car waiting for your buddy to come out of the store unknown to you he just robbed you also will be prosecuted.

          • ‘Tom Crawford

            Ah but your talking crime, there is no crime here. Stupidity, yes, but this was not a crime.

            In fact, you could very well say this was freedom of speech – with consequences for that freedom. But I still do not agree that a person who takes a picture should face the same consequences as a person acting stupid. Taking a picture should not be a crime, in fact we have argued this in the TSA and police video taping and taking pictures of what they are doing….we should not be prosecuted or punished for recording an event that is happening.

        • $16179444

          no picture, no issue….she is as guilty as the idiot in the picture

        • camsaure

          If I understand correctly what I have read on AOL, the other person who took the picture was her supervisor . If true it’s pretty damn hard to feel sorry for the other person.

        • banjo kid

          Who ever took the picture is as much a part of it as the one in the picture.

  • Matthew Hawkins

    Are we being a little overly sensitive here?

    She posts a picture to her private facebook page where she only intends her friends to see the picture, which she intended as a joke, not an insult. She didn’t release this picture to the general public.

    I think it is a little harsh for her to lose her job, get death threats and her life ruined over a stupid joke.

    • badlands4

      Death threats? Absolutely unacceptable. I will say however, she is a victim of her own stupidity. No one *did* this to her. As I told each of my now adult children that what you post on Facebook is NEVER private, as her adventure shows.

      I think what gets forgotten here is what she was doing when she took the picture. Look, I am a military wife(now retired) and am soon to be a military mom. I find this picture despicable but normally I would say that she shouldn’t lose her job anymore than somebody who burns a flag(which also personally bothers me)because I strongly believe in the protections of free speech, HOWEVER, she was on an official trip representing the organization she works for and I believe she was also accompanying LIFE clients, vulnerable adults with disabilities. When your company or organization pays for you to be on an official trip, you represent that company; the face of it. They made it clear that they didn’t appreciate the attention she drew to the organization and they paid for it on top of that. When you rely on donations you have to be very careful of how you are represented. This is a worthy organization and they didn’t want to continue to have this be the focus.

      From what I understand, her co-worker took the picture but didn’t post it. If that is the case I am not sure why they fired her as well. Ms Stone was the person who posed for and then posted the picture.

      Sometimes stupidity sucks and acting like, HER WORDS, a *douchbag* has consequences.

      • Matthew Hawkins

        I am sure you have never done anything inappropriate in your life.

        The night before she had a picture where she was smoking next to a sign that said “No Smoking.”

        She was making a joke amongst what she thought were friends.

        The poor judgement should maybe get a short suspension, it shouldn’t get you fired and your life ruined.

        • two_amber_lamps

          Of course not, no leftist believes anyone is accountable for their actions.

          • borborygmi

            Kind of like conservatives blaming someone or something else for everything that is wrong when really all anyone has to do is look in the mirror.

        • badlands4

          Of course I have. What I have not done however, is put it on Facebook. Times are different than they were even a few years ago. As I mentioned above, NOTHING you post is ever really private. If you put it on the internet it is there forever and pictures and videos go viral with the snap of your fingers.

          Her life isn’t ruined unless she chooses to let this ruin her life. Her 15 mins of unwanted fame will be over as soon as something else happens and then she can settle down, grow up and move on with her life. She will be able to get another job, perhaps not in this field, but this is all her own fault so if trust in her ability to do her job is gone she will have to earn it back.

          As we all heard from our parents growing up, actions have consequences. We have all done things in our lives that were stupid or bad judgement, etc, and most of us have had to live with the consequences of those actions. Unfortunately for her, she decided to post her bad judgement moment on Facebook and she is having to live with those consequences in a very public way.

          She wasn’t just somebody working at a bike shop on vacation, being stupid. She was on an official trip paid for by her employer, an organization with a very specific mission that requires they have faith in the good judgement of their employees who have some of our most vulnerable citizens in their care. If they no longer have trust in her judgement then they have an obligation on behalf of their clients to remove her.

          This picture is nothing like her standing next to a no smoking sign smoking but does that mean I think she is evil? No I don’t. I will go a step further and say that I don’t even think she is what she calls herself……a douchebag. All that being said, sometimes the consequences from something we do flat out suck.

          I don’t wish her ill. I hope she finds another job. Maybe she has some issues she needs to change in her life and this is the kick in the rear she needed to do it…who knows. If nothing else, I imagine she will think before she posts pictures on Facebook from now on.

          • Matthew Hawkins

            Is the only punishment to lose her job? Doesn’t that sound a little Draconian?

            And if you don’t think losing your job ruins your life it only shows that you have never lost your job or you have never been the lead income in your household.

            But doesn’t her intent matter? The reason I bring up the “no smoking” sign is because it shows a pattern of her sense of humor. She likes going in front of signs and doing the opposite. She thinks it is funny. I don’t think that she had any intent to offend service members or veterans.

          • badlands4

            a) No, I don’t think it is Draconian for the reasons I have repeatedly stated. I think she created a perfect storm for herself and she has no one to blame for this but herself.

            Had she worked someplace else she may not have been fired.

            Had she been on her own vacation time and taken the picture she may not have been fired.

            Had she not doubled down on stupid and taken the picture during a time of war, in/near a place that might have had one or more funerals from that war going on the same day she took the picture, she might not have been fired.

            However, she *did* do all of those things and she *does* work for an organization that absolutely will not and more importantly cannot tolerate that behavior. Their first and only priority is to their clients, not to put her above their clients by risking funding and having her be the entire focus of their organization vs the actual purpose and good work they do.

            b)You have no idea what kind of financial position I have been in during my life. Furthermore, not only have I known financial hardship, I have been through personal hardship that could have destroyed my marriage and my life had I allowed it.

            I guess that helplessly watching your newborn die over a two week time frame, little by little each day, then holding your baby for the first time only after she was taken off the respirator and you watched your husband weeping almost uncontrollably as that baby held his finger and opened her eyes and looked directly at him as she took her last breaths and that pregnancy and emergency complications left me with a chronic and often times debilitating life long medical condition might be more potentially life ruinous than losing your job, regardless of the circumstances. Perhaps you don’t think so, but I don’t put them on the same platform. I assure you, my husband and I would have gone through ten publicly humiliating firings if it meant we didn’t have to go through that one death of our child.

            Furthermore, I think you might be using the word “ruined” too flippantly. There are thousands upon thousands of people who have gone through unimaginable things but their lives were not ruined by them. Changed? yes, but not ruined. Ruined means destroyed to the point you can never repair it.

            There are women who have been brutally gang raped but have gone on to have a fulfilling life of purpose. There have been soldiers who have lived through unimaginable things in war, coming back limbless and/or scarred but have gone on to have a fulfilling life of purpose. the list goes on and on.

            The reason those people don’t have a ruined life is because they CHOOSE not to. While it is complicated, it is also as simple as that. I know that because I stood at the fork in the road and had to make a choice about the direction I took my life.

            I don’t think we will find a middle ground and I think it is because we look at the word “ruin” much differently and because I don’t think we see the reasoning her employer used when they chose to fire her.

            As I also stated, I don’t wish her ill. I doubt this is something that she would do again but I also don’t believe her life is ruined unless she allows it to be ruined. In fact, I hope she finds another job and repairs the damage she has done to herself. There have been millions of people who have lost their jobs, lost their homes, lost everything, but they haven’t allowed their life to be ruined. I hope she takes a page out of their book and finds a way to use this experience in a positive way.

        • camsaure

          SMOKING? Isn’t that the freedom you lefties are campaigning against right now at present?

        • borborygmi

          Yeah kind of like Romney making a joke about the 47% among his friends…Ooops now those were consequences

          • ObservingTheProcess

            The thing is Romney was right……………With 47% of the public on the Government teat, they are not going to vote to take away their milk cow. Hence we stuck with OBOZO for another 4 years. God help us.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      She released the photo to the general public.

      She posted it on the internet.

      • Matthew Hawkins

        Her private facebook page is release to the general public?

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          If her settings allowed that page to be open to the general internet public (and it appears that was the case), then yes.

          • Matthew Hawkins

            Even so, do you think that she intended this to be seen by everybody?

            Have you ever made an inappropriate joke?

            She thought it would be funny to be loud and disrespectful next to a sign that said silence and respect. And BTW, she didn’t yell, she faked it for a photo.

            I don’t have a problem with her being punished. Maybe a week or two off without pay.

            I think LIFE, Inc. caved to public pressure.

            I think it is a little draconian to ruin someones life for a stupid joke photo.

      • $16179444

        but, but she’s a ‘victim!’

    • matthew

      stop protecting this disrespectful asshole. she has made her choice let her deal with the consequences.

  • Neiman

    I just spoke to a former serving Marine, wounded twice in Vietnam, having come from the ghettos of Oakland, California to join the Corps, fight for his country and succeed in private life and he didn’t think it was funny at all.

    Of course, who cares what he thinks, right?

    • VocalYokel

      No doubt this woman was fortunate that there were not folks around who chose to take immediate action regarding her lack of respect.

    • Guest

      Just like nobody cares what you think.

      • Neiman

        Nobody? So you took a poll and 100% of respondents at SAB said without exception, they don’t care what I think about anything? Or, are you talking about yourself and the liberal turds in your pocket?

      • Jack

        Ah…the anonymous coward.

      • two_amber_lamps

        LOL…. funny you should mention that, I was going to say that about you little faceless sockpuppet troll.

    • Matthew Hawkins

      Honestly, I don’t think he should have any say whatsoever. It doesn’t effect him.

      From what I have read she seems to be a low level worker, maybe a nurse assistant.

      She cares for the elderly, why don’t we find out what they think? They are the ones who should matter.

      • Neiman

        Ah, so disrespect for a fallen soldier and a monument for fallen soldiers in American history does not have any effect, nor is it any business of a soldier that fought for our country and was wounded in battle? Strange logic there.

        He didn’t talk about what should happen to her, only that he didn’t think her childish high jinks were funny or appropriate. But, let’s face facts, you liberals hate the military and those brave men and women that have fought, been wounded and killed to make sure you are free to hate them? Yes, typical liberal reaction – tell the soldiers to shut up.

        You are a punk!

        • Matthew Hawkins

          I don’t think she was funny or appropriate either, but I also don’t think she intended any serious disrespect. I think she saw a sign and was trying to be funny.

          When she saw the outcry she made an apology, which while not the best I believe was honest.

          Do you really support ruining somebody’s life over a bad joke. It is easy to say that in the abstract, but think of what you are advocating.

          BTW, being a soldier is not conservative or liberal. I served for 6 years active and 4 years reserve. I would have stayed longer but an illness took me out which made me nondeployable because I require medicine to live.

          I don’t agree with you on anything, but I have never denigrated your service. But your holier than thou attitude about it is beginning to piss me off.

          • Neiman

            That is all I said/implied when you disrespected a former serving Marine having been wounded in action twice.

            I never said she should be fired, that is your twisted reading.

            Talking about another Marine and his emotional reaction to her behavior is “holier than thou?” I really don’t care what pisses you off, far away or face-to-face.

            If you had not been a complete jackass, you would have read I simply mentioned how the discourtesy made a Marine feel in reaction, no attacks on the woman or recommendations, just noting his reaction. You don’t like it, do something about it, be a man.

          • Matthew Hawkins

            I never disrespected any former Marine. This thread is about her being fired, not whether you can have an opinion.

          • Neiman

            I simply commented: “I just spoke to a former serving Marine, wounded twice in Vietnam, having come from the ghettos of Oakland, California to join the Corps, fight for his country and succeed in private life and he didn’t think it was funny at all.”

            Neither of us Marines said anything about what should be done, I only related an opinion from one man that did serve, showing how it seemed quite non-amusing to him.

            You got on your high horse to make it clear he should not be allowed an opinion, by saying “Honestly, I don’t think he should have any say whatsoever. It doesn’t effect him.” And, it sure does affect him, she was disrespecting him and his band of brothers by her thoughtless actions.

            Those are the facts, that is the truth. To make it clear that those that served and suffered would not find it amusing I reported what one said and you made it clear he had no right to an opinion at all.

          • Roy_Bean

            If she “saw a sign and was trying to be funny” she missed the whole point of the memorial. There are still 73,692 servicemen listed as Missing in Action from World War II. The remains in the Tomb belong to one of those men. There were 147,384 parents who sent a son off to war and died having no idea what happened to him. In 1940 the average family had 3.76 children so statistically there were 203,389 brothers and sisters who have no idea what happened to their brother. For those 424,465 people, and countless aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, this memorial has meaning beyond our ability to comprehend.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mzTsCN7mNs

        • borborygmi

          Of course cutting back on gov’t health care for veterans is more of a Conservative idea.

          • Wayne

            Wrong again. That’s an Obama idea.

  • VocalYokel

    While I in no way condone or even pretend to understand her actions, she certainly has the right under the First Amendment to express herself in ways that are unseemly and inappropriate to others.
    That being said, how is it that many people fail to comprehend that actions have consequences, and that the Bill of Rights is not a free pass to be an ultramaroon?

    • alanstorm

      “That being said, how is it that many people fail to comprehend that actions have consequences…”

      Not sure about HOW it happens, but we can be confident saying just over 50% of the population fall into that category

  • ObservingTheProcess

    I agree that both should have been and remain fired. They are representing the company and the CEO. If the person taking the picture did not have enough brains to inform Linsey she was wrong, she is just as wrong and would be too stupid to work at my company.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    She represents her business. I have to be careful how I represent myself as well in my business (educator). The right to free speech does not mean freedom from consequences. The constitution limits the government, not employers or individuals. She is facing no criminal charges, nor should she. But her employer has the right to protects its image.

  • LastBestHope

    No wedding ring. Shocker.

    • camsaure

      Not to worry, she is probably on Govt contraceptives. (the gene pool should be safe for a while longer)

  • $16179444

    since most if not all liberals disrespect our military, they too should be canned

    • Matthew Hawkins

      Where did you serve Mark and for how long?

  • borborygmi

    STupid is as stupid does. What part of” hey this picture might land on the internet for everyone to see” don’t people get?

  • banjo kid

    Say and do what you want but also be prepared to stand up and take the consequences of your actions . The constitution does not guarantee you to be unharmed by your free speech . To many forget with that freedom comes “RESPONSIBILITY”

  • Max

    After reading several articles on this “event” and learning her employer asked her to leave; I’ve a question: Would this have been a news story if Ms. Stone was of a Minority-American persuasion?

    • Matthew Hawkins

      Hey Max, are you a conservative?

  • Kris

    Freedom of speech is no excuse to ignore human decency. Her horrible, horrible attempt at humor was in unbelievably poor taste and being an adult she should have known better.

  • matthew

    this is so disrespectful. there are no words for this. I hope she burns in hell.

  • BKBroiler

    The photo speaks volumes. I’d never hire such a classless piece of trash. Maybe she can reflect on her lack of class, maturity and sophistication while she reflects on her lack of a job.

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