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Photographer Wraps Baby In American Flag And The Internet Loses Its Mind

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Patriotism and the treatment of the American flag are touchy subjects for obvious reasons. Some people feel that the rules surrounding the care of our flag are a little much and others feel they should be followed to the letter. Both points of view are on display as the story of a military family wrapping their baby in an American flag for a photo-shoot has gone viral. The photographer has been harassed extensively and I just have to say — this is absolutely ridiculous. Here is the video from ABC News:

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The photographer, Vanessa Hicks, is a Navy veteran and her husband is active-duty Navy. She claims that she had no idea the photo would be so controversial and spent several hours deleting vicious comments from her business and company page. She stands by the photo and thought it was a lovely way to convey her client’s love of country and his child:

“This is what he was fighting for, his son wrapped in an American flag,” Hicks told ABC News. However, when she posted the image on her page, she started to get comments accusing her of desecrating the flag.

Personally, I find this very sweet and it never would have occurred to me to consider it disrespectful. I have several family members that served in the armed forces and I am very patriotic. When I see this photo, I see a parent who loves our country and their child. It’s beautiful. Of course, the internet would have to disagree:

On one Facebook page an unidentified poster put up her picture writing and wrote they found it was “disrespectful, rude, tacky, disgusting, and against the U.S. Flag Code.”

I understand the code, however, I think context is very important here. Was the flag on the ground with the baby laying on it? Was it being defaced or cut up? No. It was high off the ground, cradling an innocent baby, the child of someone fighting for our country. Of all battles to fight in regard to respecting our military and our nation, is this really worth getting upset over?

As the photo went viral, fellow veterans took notice and let Hicks know that they did not find the photo offensive. After all, who better to judge than people who have defended our country?

“I have seen first-hand what is desecration of the flag,” Hicks said of her time in the military. “At the end of the day I didn’t do anything that disrespected this flag.”

Hicks, whose husband is still on active duty in the Navy, said the flag is a symbol of U.S. freedoms including the First Amendment right to free speech.

“[My husband] wouldn’t die for a flag, he would die for the freedoms that this country offers,” she told ABC News.

I completely agree that Hicks did nothing to desecrate the flag. If the guidelines prohibit something this beautiful and clearly, respectful of America, then maybe they should change. The intent behind this photo was innocent. There is no reason to vilify this talented photographer.

In the end, this incident should help Hicks’ business. She has been flooded with requests for more photos like this and she plans to donate 15% of the profits from the shoots to the USO. I hope the internet calms down and stops harassing her. It is clear she meant nothing offensive by this picture.

(Image: ABC News)

(Video: YouTube/ABC News)