War Memorials Aren't Wading Pools, Parents

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 

A picture of a group of people using the fountain at the National WWII Memorial as a wading pool is going viral on social media this week. NBC 12’s Curt Autry posted the photo to his Facebook account.

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“The fountain at the WW II memorial is not the slip and slide at Busch Gardens. I apologize to the Greatest Generation, I’m afraid it’s my generation that’s raising self-involved, entitled children with low SAT scores – who mistakenly believe bucking authority is funny. Hey parents, get out of the water – set an example and #raiseYOURkids SHARE if you agree.”

A LOT of people agree. The post has been shared over 34,000 times in two days.

Similar outrage surfaced last year when a photo of kids frolicking on the Vietnam Women’s Memorial circulated around social media. In that instance, the parents were actually directing their children to climb on the memorial for a photo op. In this one, it seems to be the parents leading the charge to climb into a space designated as a memorial for fallen soldiers.

So, is this behavior acceptable?

There is a difference between a public park and a memorial. People tend to have varying levels of respect when it comes to things like memorials, because their views on history and the events memorialized in a space may affect how solemnly they are willing to treat a space — and with how much respect. You can argue politics all day long but these memorials exist to honor soldiers – American citizens who gave their lives so that we could have the freedom to debate these issues.

If you’re wondering, I’m a liberal. I think we need to do a lot more to support the soldiers who come back to us alive. That doesn’t take away from the respect we owe the ones who didn’t. Whether or not you agree with the wars we’ve fought or our country’s politics, surely you can recognize the solemn importance of recognizing that the lives sacrificed in the name of our “freedoms” should be honored, right?

In short – get the hell out of the fountain. Have some fucking respect.

Teach your children the difference between a wading pool and a space that pays tribute to Americans who gave their lives for this country. And if you can’t bring yourself to respect the importance of a space – don’t visit it. I’m not religious, so churches aren’t really sacred spaces for me, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go hang out in one with my feet up, playing Minecraft.

A little common sense and decency goes a long way, people.

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