The United States Air Force posted a Pride Month photo on Wednesday showing a service member saluting in front of an LGBTQ rainbow flag.
“June is #PrideMonth! The Department of the Air Force proudly recognizes and celebrates generations of LGBTQI+ service members and their contributions to our #AirForce & #SpaceForce,” the U.S. Air Force tweeted.
The image sparked fury among Twitter users, who slammed the Air Force for posting an image of a service member saluting something other than the American flag. The Air Force eventually limited who could comment on the post.
“Why is the Service member SALUTING the alphabet cult flag? Its illegal for a uniformed service member to salute anything but the American flag. This cult is actively disgracing our military and replacing the American flag like we are a conquered people,” tweeted conservative commentator Benny Johnson. “This must stop.”
Another Twitter user who identified himself as a retired Air Force officer said he was “humiliated by the state of the service.”
“No credible American and no actual Airmen would salute anything but the American flag. Celebrating a military member saluting a pride flag is not just embarrassing it is traitorous. The current senior leadership are no more than a group of Aldrich Ames clones with a few Harvey Milks/Ed Bucks mixed in. Everyone involved in putting this messaging out should have their clearance revoked & face Article 15 procedures,” he wrote. “You have all failed in your responsibility and your oath to the US Constitution. Ridiculous and embarrassing.”
Code of Vets, an organization that helps veterans in crisis or in need, called the post “a disgrace.”
“This is a disgrace. Our nation has one flag. We salute Old Glory. We fight for Old Glory. We are united under Old Glory. This needs to stop,” the group tweeted.
Talk show host Joe Pags Pagliarulo, whose father was in the Air Force, tweeted, “Hey @usairforce — wtf is this garbage? My father was in the Air Force and was proud of it until the day he died. He’s [sic] be sickened to see a meme depicting an Air Force member saluting with an ideological flag prominent. What on God’s green Earth is WRONG with you? #pride my ass.”
Others defended the Air Force’s post.
“For those who are pressed, maybe try taking a look at the contents here. This is not a service member saluting the pride flag. The context of the post clearly shows that they are sending a salute to those who are/were LGBTQI+ that have served. It’s not disrespecting the US flag,” one user wrote.
“Proud Air Force Veteran here reminding the fascist conservatives losing their minds over a soldier saluting a pride flag that people join the armed forces to protect the rights of all Americans, not just the ones who are useful to our agendas. Gay, straight, trans or queer…ALL Americans matter. Much [love] and keep fighting!” another user tweeted.