A Gold Star widow has a message for those who post emotional photos of Gold Star families on the internet: “Learn his name first.”
Seana Arrechaga, whose husband died in 2011 during a mission in Afghanistan, said photos from her husband’s funeral have circulated the internet when Trump and other politicians publicly comment that the NFL protests are disrespectful to American troops.
“I understand why people are kneeling, and I understand why people are upset by that,” Arrechaga told the Washington Post in a piece published Sunday.
Arrechaga’s husband, Army Sgt. 1st Class Ofren Arrechaga, was a Cuban immigrant and Arrechaga said the fact the image from his funeral has been used in a way to inhibit free speech is troubling.
“My husband fought and died for all of our rights. He came from a place with no rights. That’s what his American Dream was,” she said. “He loved being in the Army. It’s one thing when they share the photo and pay their respects. But learn his name first.”
Arrechaga found conservative author Dinesh D’Souza had used a photo of Arrechaga in a September tweet and responded to him last week saying the photo had been used against the family’s wishes and she “guaranteed” D’Souza did not know her husband’s name.
“A prime example of personal photos being used against our wishes,” she said in her tweet.
A prime example of personal photos being used against our wishes. I'm the living person in this photo. This guy got all those likes and retweets and I GUARANTEE he didn't know Ofren's name or story when he decided to use Ofren to make his point. #HONORourfallen https://t.co/arKoAXo4Ve— Seana Arrechaga (@SeanaArrechaga) January 5, 2018
Earlier this week, Trump used an image of a Gold Star widow to attack NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem.
“So beautiful….Show this picture to the NFL players who still kneel!” Trump tweeted to accompany a photo of a widow and her child laying beside her husband’s grave.
NFL players started kneeling last season when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest the treatment of minorities. Protests continued into this season after Trump said in September players who refused to stand for the anthem should be fired.