A photo taken of two young girls playing on the Vietnam Women's Memorial has sparked outrage online, particularly among veterans.
The photo also shows an elderly man who came to visit the memorial. He can be seen in a wheelchair wearing a "USS Emmons" ball cap.The Emmons was destroyed by kamikaze pilots off Okinawa during WWII. Sixty sailors lost their lives.
The Vietnam memorial was designed as a tribute to women who served in Vietnam, most as nurses. It depicts a nurse helping a wounded soldier. Dedicated in 1993, it sits a couple hundred feet from the Vietnam Memorial on the northwest side of the Lincoln Memorial Reflection Pool in Washington, D.C.
Many on Reddit have eviscerated the parents. Some stressed the mass casualties in the Vietnam War, and demanded a sense of reverence for those who had lost.
Many also suggested kids could just as easily climb a tree or play at a park.
"This is the Nurses Memorial. I'm an Army Vet and a nurse. Only an a------ would let their kids climb on a memorial like it was a jungle gym," a commenter wrote.
But not everyone was as harsh: Some saw the carefree children as the very thing veterans fought to enable. One user told of how his grandfather, a World War II veteran, loved watching kids play on a local memorial that had names of lost friends — including his brother — on it.
"He saw it as a way for the next generation to take some joy out of something so terrible and at the same time gave them a link to the past," the commenter wrote, noting that some kids would stop to read names or be prompted to read up on the history.
Another said his grandfather, also a World War II vet, let him play on local memorials in town, adding "I think they fought so kids can freely be kids."