A black and white American flag t-shirt spotted at a Pacific Sunwear in Alabama this weekend has a lot of people seeing red.
Rachel Zawacki-Kuss uploaded the above photo to Facebook on Saturday, with a message saying that she would never be shopping at the store again.
“Seeing the flag used that way was incredibly upsetting to me,” she wrote. “The display was in bad taste, it was disrespectful and insensitive to the sacrifices that have been made by so many service members.”
According to the U.S. Flag Code: “The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.”
It sells for $23.95 online and is actually part of a line of clothing in collaboration with the A$AP Mob, a hip hop collective from New York.
But her post still struck a chord with lots of people online considering that it was Memorial Day weekend, a holiday intended to pay tribute to fallen men and women in the armed forces.
Angry Americans are expressing their outrage by posting messages on both the PacSun Facebook page and the A$AP Mob page criticizing the group and demanding that the shirt be removed from stores.
It has since been removed from that specific store in light of the complaints, according to the NY Daily News.
Just a few weeks ago, Under Armour was involved in a similar controversy, in which the clothing company was forced to apologize for selling an Iwo Jima basketball t-shirt.
PacSun’s Twitter account has been promoting some other American Flag themed designs for Memorial Day as well, including various shirts, shoes, bathing suits and tank tops.
So if you aren’t a fan of the flag shirt, they offer plenty of other options to show off your patriotism like these two.
An artist named Matthew Munson was snapping some photos around Washington, D.C. when he happened to catch some kids using the Vietnam Women’s Memorial as a jungle gym.
He posted the image to Facebook this week, and it has since sparked a heated debate online.
“I managed to take some decent photos and even a very powerful one of two little brats climbing over war memorial right in front of a veteran,” he wrote in the post.
Munson says the vets all appeared “hurt” as they watched the debacle, and he thinks the parents are to blame for this sign of disrespect.
“Certain memorials and statues are more positive and welcoming to kids and parents expressing their freedom and good vibes, other memorials (this one) focuses on the tragedies of war and how certain groups of people played a big role in helping others recover from it,” he said. “Having children step all over a wounded warrior is not an appropriate way to express the freedom our veterans fought for, in my opinion.”
Commenters on the post are taking both sides, some are horrified and others think everyone is blowing this out of proportion.
Here are a few opinions from Facebook:
“I love the pic with the kids: Speaks volumes to what we fought and fight for.” – Pipal Tri.
“Take those damn kids to Disney Land and not to a place of remembrance.” – Jill Kin
“They are just kids, and it’s just a statue. People invest way too much into idols and memorials.” – Stephen Budzash
“The level of disrespect that ensues towards or vets both alive and dead, their memorials. is sicking… and parents allow this to happen.” – Justin Burkhardt
The statue was unveiled in 1993 and is dedicated to women who served the country during the Vietnam War, many of whom were nurses.