A photo of an infant wrapped in an American flag, relaxed as though sleeping in a hammock, has created quite a controversy over claims it is disgraceful and unpatriotic. The photographer, a Navy veteran herself, feels that the photograph is anything but disrespectful to Old Glory, America, and the United States military. Instead, she claims the child’s father had “purely patriotic” intentions when he suggested the photo idea. Banter on the Internet is split between believing the photo is patriotic and those that feel it is an utter disgrace to use the American flag in a demeaning manner.
Fox News reported that Vanessa Hicks, a 29-year-old Navy veteran, owns a small photography business. When she was approached by the baby’s father, she was excited to have the opportunity to take the picture. Vanessa and the father searched for patriotic ideas on the Internet and found many images of babies draped in American flags, a seemingly fitting visual for the baby and its sailor father. Satisfied with the end result, she quickly posted the photo to her Facebook page.
To her surprise, Hicks was bombarded with criticism from patriotic Americans that deemed the photo a disgrace and utterly distasteful in nature. Some even claimed the photo was against U.S. Flag code and she should be punished for the photo. ABC News reports that the Federal Flag Code does have specific guidelines regarding how a flag must be treated. However, there are no official rules that recommend punishment for the incidents.
Hicks defended the photo, claiming that the father, Rodney Cleavenger, was well within his rights to suggest the photo, claiming, “This is what he was fighting for, his son wrapped in an American flag,”
Hicks reiterated that she was not attempting to be disrespectful by any means.
“In no way, shape or form was I trying to do anything but take a picture for a family. I was doing my job. I didn’t put it out there for the media or anyone to judge it.”
However, a message on her Facebook page proves that some people feel otherwise.
“This flag is a symbol of everything my son died for many years ago. It was of the utmost honor to have a flag laid upon your coffin as my son did. That honor is taken away when disrespectful photographers throw our flag code out the window. You Call Yourself a Photographer?… Mr. Clevenger, you have disgraced our fallen soldiers as well by disobeying that code.”
Despite the criticism, Hicks has also received much praise over the photograph and has seen an upturn in customers. Howe do you feel about the photo, is it disgraceful or inspirational?
[Photo By: Vanessa Hicks Photography/retrieved from EOnline]