Monday, May 27, 2024
HomeVeterans AdministrationDid Biden Administration Ban Iconic WWII Photo? What We Know

Did Biden Administration Ban Iconic WWII Photo? What We Know

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough has rescinded a proposed governmental ban of an iconic World War II-era photo.
The image, one of the most famous photographs celebrating U.S. victory, shows a U.S. Navy sailor embracing and kissing a total stranger on Victory over Japan Day in New York City’s Times Square on August 14, 1945. It was taken by journalist Alfred Eisenstaedt and has become synonymous with that war and military generation.
A recent memo by RimaAnn Nelson, assistant under secretary for health for operations at the VA, dated February 29 went viral and implied her request for a ban, saying in part that the photo should be removed from all VA health administration facilities “in alignment with the Department of Veteran Affairs’ commitment to maintaining a safe, respectful and trauma-informed environment.”
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs building in Washington, D.C. Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough said on March 5, 2024, that the department and its facilities will not ban an iconic World War II-era photo… The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs building in Washington, D.C. Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough said on March 5, 2024, that the department and its facilities will not ban an iconic World War II-era photo known as “the kiss.” More ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP via Getty Images
The memo also refers to the image as a “non-consensual act” that is inconsistent with the VA’s no-tolerance policy toward sexual assault and harassment.
“Let me be clear: This image is not banned from VA facilities—and we will keep it in VA facilities,” McDonough wrote Tuesday on X, formerly Twitter.
A VA spokesperson reiterated McDonough’s words to Newsweek, adding: “VA is NOT banning this photo from VA facilities.”
Let me be clear: This image is not banned from VA facilities – and we will keep it in VA facilities. pic.twitter.com/dYSikLxHAJ — Secretary Denis McDonough (@SecVetAffairs) March 5, 2024
A source with knowledge of the situation told Newsweek that the memo was sent out “and should not have been.” It is unclear how or why the memo was drafted and circulated.
Nelson wrote in the memo that the photo “was initially intended to celebrate and commemorate the end of World War II and the triumphant return of American soldiers.”
“However, perspectives on historical events and their representations evolve,” she added, saying the memo was provoked by more recent debates “on consent and the appropriateness of celebrating such images.”
“This action reflects our dedication to creating a respectful and safe workplace and is in keeping with our broader efforts to promote a culture of inclusivity and awareness,” the memo continued.
Nelson previously served as the network director for Veteran Integrated Service Network, providing oversight to a larger health network including 11 VA Medical Centers and 60 outpatient clinics across Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio. She oversaw an operating budget in excess of $5.3 billion and over 27,400 employees.
Prior to that role, she served as the director of the VA Regional Office and Outpatient Clinic at the VA in Manila, Philippines, from July 2013 through October 2016.
“The ⁦@DeptVetAffairs apparently just banned this iconic picture,” wrote Tennessee Representative Tim Burchett, a Republican, on X. “We need a new President.”
“This is the woman (maybe?) who is trying to cancel an iconic American kiss,” Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican, wrote. He included a photo of Nelson.
“The fact one of your VA bureaucrats tried to ban this is telling,” Florida Representative Mike Waltz, also a Republican, said in response to McDonough’s post.

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments

Translate »
×