Friday, November 23, 2012


Coram Deo: Arlington Cemetery Meets the Facebook Generation

Lindsay Stone's now-infamous obscene gesture in Arlington Cemetery
(with apologies to my readers' sensibilities)
So, it would appear the young lady who dishonored Arlington National Cemetery has been fired after taking this photo, posting it to a Facebook page, and then discovering that her little joke wasn't so funny.  Oops.

As one who has been honored to serve on the hallowed grounds of Arlington burying our heroes, I was naturally appalled when this picture went viral across the wires.

Given some time for reflection, however, my sense of this kerfuffle is that this was, in essence, a moment of adolescent knuckle-headedness by someone who is not an adolescent, but yet clearly had no clue where she was. She and a friend saw a sign and thought how funny it would be to take a picture doing the opposite of what the sign said, then posted it for all their friends to laugh at.  Ha ha. I imagine similar acts have transpired on countless high school field trips, with two caveats:  one, she's old enough to know better; and two, the age of social networking magnifies the risks of such ignorance--sometimes exponentially.

I doubt Ms. Jones considered for a second why her impishness might be deemed particularly offensive to anyone, which tells us something about her. She stood in a place steeped in profound meaning and deep personal, national and historical context, and somehow managed to experience none of it.  It brings to mind the words of the prophet Jeremiah:  Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not.

It was the ultimate Facebook Generation moment in every respect, including the fallout. Now she's suddenly infamous and unemployed, though--one hopes--a little wiser.

This is sad, but can be instructive.  We who live our entire lives coram deo (before the face of God) do so with little daily awareness of His holy presence.  Honestly, if we were to get a glimpse into the heavenly social network--in which our every word, deed and thought has been captured in His lens--what would we see, and how could we stand?

By grace alone, through faith, and this not of ourselves ...  and perhaps this should give us pause as we deign to pass judgement on the wretchedness of Lindsay Jones.

The context missed by Lindsay Stone


  1. Your next to last paragraph brings it all into perspective. Thank you!

  2. Night-time talk show hosts are guilty of the same poor taste, often.


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