How can a simple, sweet photo of a newborn baby resting on an American flag in the arms of her camouflage-clad father cause such heated controversy? Viewers of this viral photo are split straight down the middle between those who believe photographer Vanessa Hicks has desecrated the flag, and others who see this as a patriotic photo honoring a veteran’s love and loyalty for his family and country.
I fall firmly on the latter side of the controversy. My first reaction when I saw the photo was pure awe. I did not see an absurd use of our country’s great symbol. To me, the photo speaks overwhelmingly of love. One man’s honor in making it his life’s work to protect his country. A father’s protective love of his newborn child. The photo with the flag and the baby, held within the strong embrace of one who has sworn to always uphold them, encompasses the two parts of the veteran’s world and bring them together. In my opinion, it is a beautiful work of art.
Many people do not agree with me. When photographer and Navy veteran Vanessa Hicks posted the photo to her Facebook page, she was taken off guard by the explosive controversy it engendered. According to Military Times, the subject of the photo and his family were overjoyed with the results. It was not until she posted the photo online that the controversy began.
“I mean — before all this, they loved it. The mom shared it on her Facebook page. The grandmother was there and loved it. I had gotten nothing but positive feedback.”
Haters of the patriotic photo took to the Facebook page You Call Yourself A Photographer to air grievances against Hicks and the family featured in the photo. Unfortunately, the controversy took a very personal turn, with posters attacking the photographer with accusations of being disrespectful, rude, and disgracing fallen soldiers, to name a few. Vanessa Hicks replied in defense of her photo.
“Regardless of what you think of it, I will have you know, that I have spoke to some very high ranking military personal, who have stated we did not disrespect the flag. this was a practice flag that was never flown, and was also retired.”
This is not the first time a baby has been featured in photos with the American flag. Parents magazine featured photos of babies with the flag in celebration of the Fourth of July.
The following photo features a little Somali sweetheart wrapped in an American flag.
Though the negative side of controversy always seems to carry more weight than the positive, Vanessa Hicks does have a large following on her side.
— Robin Clark (@RobinClark115) March 12, 2015
Do you think this photo is patriotic or disrespectful? What side of the photo controversy do you lean more toward? Share your opinions on the patriotic baby photo controversy.
[Images via Fox News/ Parents/ Fantasy 5]