National Guard photo taken in Arkansas causing controversy
(KATV) Members of the NationalGuard sparking a controversy for a photo posted online depicting the membersposing around a flag-draped empty casket.
This photo was taken at aNational Guard training facility in Arkansas, inside Camp Robinson.
The National Guard hasresponded to the picture by suspending the member, who is from Wisconsin.
The photo is from atraining class for soldiers on the proper ceremony of a veteran funeral. Theguard couldn't confirm if any Arkansas soldiers were in the picture as it'sstill under investigation.
Guardsmen come from all overthe country to train at the national facility, which answers to the nationaloffice. It's not directly a part of the Arkansas National Guard.
The member who posted thephoto also posted another photo on her Instagram account, saying she didn'twant to do a funeral in the cold and that someone was quote "getting ajacked-up flag."
But over at the ArkansasNational Guard training area, one Arkansas soldier says volunteering at aveteran's funeral is his highest honor. He said he can't imagine disrespectingthat.
"It's heartbreaking it really is. It reallyhurts me personally especially for what happened because I take it very seriously.I take it very honorably," said Staff Sgt. Nick Nelson.
Arkansas National Guarddid 1,200 funerals last year. They're on call 24/7 and being a part of theprogram is by volunteer. He says it's important to give a veteran and theirfamily a final honor.
"I take it very honorably.I take it very seriously and for someone to do that is just troubling," Nelsonsaid.
Nelson said he's had manymemorable moments of being at soldier's funerals.
"I was actually standingat the head of a casket at attention while I was still in the ceremony inuniform and hugged me. Thanked me for being there. And of course at that pointI broke ceremonial composure to talk to the lady," he said.
The national officeresponded with a statement:
"The actions depictedin the photo are deplorable, do not represent the values of the National Guardand will not be tolerated. These duties are sacred. America's fallen deservenothing less than our deepest respect."