Kids Climb All Over The Vietnam Women’s Memorial Because Parents Wanted A Photo Op

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The Vietnam Women’s Memorial in D.C. is dedicated to all the women who served in the Vietnam War, most of whom were nurses. It depicts a nurse caring for what looks to be a wounded or dying soldier, with two other nurses by her side. A photo of the memorial with two children climbing all over it has gone viral today.


Fox 13 talked to the man who snapped the photo, Matthew Munson. Munson explained that the parents encouraged the children to climb on the memorial so they could snap a picture of them. He told Fox 13:

“There wasn’t a lot of people at this point,” Munson said. “Then a big group of people showed up just as the kids were treating the memorial more like a jungle gym and the parents were laughing. Then the veterans showed up, and they looked hurt more than angry. They were quiet.”

Munson continued, “That’s when I noticed a big group around the parents glaring at them, the pressure was intense and the kids blissfully ignorant. That’s when I snapped the picture. I tried getting a good shot of the crowd and the parents too but no luck. Kids jumped down and skittered off with their parents.”

As you can imagine, the photo has launched a huge debate about the etiquette surrounding memorials and how children should act when they are there. We all look at death and memorials with different levels of gravity, so this may be one of those debates that truly causes people to disagree.

Here’s my two cents: There’s nothing wrong with children who may not understand how gleefully playing all over a memorial may seem inappropriate to some. If these kids were just doing that — gleefully playing all over a memorial — I wouldn’t find anything wrong with the image, actually. But they’re not. According to the words of the witness/photographer, they were being directed onto the memorial by their parents, for a photo op. Why? It’s just odd, isn’t it? Asking your kids to climb atop a depiction of a dying man for a photo?

These parents were disrespectful. The kids were being kids and following their directives.