National Guard photo taken in Arkansas causing controversy - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

National Guard photo taken in Arkansas causing controversy

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(KATV) Members of the National Guard sparking a controversy for a photo posted online depicting the members posing around a flag-draped empty casket.

This photo was taken at a National Guard training facility in Arkansas, inside Camp Robinson.

The National Guard has responded to the picture by suspending the member, who is from Wisconsin.

The photo is from a training class for soldiers on the proper ceremony of a veteran funeral. The guard couldn't confirm if any Arkansas soldiers were in the picture as it's still under investigation.

Guardsmen come from all over the country to train at the national facility, which answers to the national office. It's not directly a part of the Arkansas National Guard.

The member who posted the photo also posted another photo on her Instagram account, saying she didn't want to do a funeral in the cold and that someone was quote "getting a jacked-up flag."

But over at the Arkansas National Guard training area, one Arkansas soldier says volunteering at a veteran's funeral is his highest honor. He said he can't imagine disrespecting that.

"It's heartbreaking it really is. It really hurts me personally especially for what happened because I take it very seriously. I take it very honorably," said Staff Sgt. Nick Nelson.

Arkansas National Guard did 1,200 funerals last year. They're on call 24/7 and being a part of the program is by volunteer. He says it's important to give a veteran and their family a final honor.

"I take it very honorably. I take it very seriously and for someone to do that is just troubling," Nelson said.

Nelson said he's had many memorable moments of being at soldier's funerals.

"I was actually standing at the head of a casket at attention while I was still in the ceremony in uniform and hugged me. Thanked me for being there. And of course at that point I broke ceremonial composure to talk to the lady," he said.

The national office responded with a statement:

"The actions depicted in the photo are deplorable, do not represent the values of the National Guard and will not be tolerated. These duties are sacred. America's fallen deserve nothing less than our deepest respect."

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