As I’m sure you know by now, the picture above of soldiers standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns during Hurricane Sandy went viral yesterday as the storm bore down on the eastern seaboard of the United States.
It’s a great example of the soldiers’ dedication to their fallen comrades in harsh conditions.
But there’s one problem: The picture was snapped in September.
(In fact, a handful of images purportedly taken during Hurricane Sandy are making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, and a lot of them are fake.)
The only difference, however, between this image, and the ones actually taken during the storm, is the amount of rain. Other than precipitation, it retains the message that the photographers wanted to get across: We will not back down.
This makes me wonder: Does the accuracy of the image we’re portraying really matter, as long as the message gets across?
At the very least, the visual of soldiers standing guard instills a sense of patriotism in all of us, regardless of how bad it’s raining. And aside from those ridiculous Sandy images Photoshopped from The Day After Tomorrow, the images that have been captured in the aftermath of the storm are more powerful than words could ever hope to be.
During times of suffering, humans tend to band together in ways never thought possible while things were going well, and anything that serves to reinforce the positive is well-received. It’s why so many people shared this image, even after news broke that it was taken at another time.
It made us feel good about ourselves.
And when tragedy strikes, sometimes that is all that matters.