Navy Veteran Photographer Slammed for Wrapping Newborn in an American Flag (PHOTO)

A photographer in Virginia Beach had no idea she was going to spark such a huge debate about patriotism and what it means to desecrate the American flag when she did a newborn photoshoot with the infant's Navy father. In the photo, Dad is in uniform, and holding the baby inside an American flag.

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Vanessa Hicks is a Navy veteran herself, and is now a Navy wife and mom. She's also a photographer, and took great pride in this photo, which she believes is very patriotic.

"I do believe that this picture right here shows what it means to be an American," Hicks said. "That flag, the uniform, that baby -- exactly what every service member is out there fighting."

I am proud to be a red-blooded American with tremendous respect for our troops, and I believe that desecrating the flag is an awful thing to do. That being said, this photo is so sweet I can hardly even stand it!!

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Not everyone felt that way though, and Hicks found herself at the mercy of some online bullies after she shared the photo on Facebook. Within hours, the Facebook group "You Call Yourself a Photographer" was calling her out personally for desecrating the flag by using it as a prop.

"I was heartbroken," she confessed. "I was in shock ... that I went against this flag code by having this baby wrapped in it..."

She said that it only got worse. "Then I was starting to get the private messages and them going on my page and commenting on every picture that I have up there," she lamented. She tried to reach out to Facebook to get them to take it down, but so far they've refused.

"A day of crying, a day of second guessing myself as a photographer as a professional, as a person, as an American, as a veteran," she said.

Online bullies are just awful. Hicks is ridiculously proud of her country, and to have served it. She joined the Navy straight out of high school, and was stationed on board the USS Enterprise from 2002-2007. She's now a Navy wife, and her husband is currently deployed.

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Despite the criticism, she shared, "When I look at this picture, I see a man who has served six years in our Navy, the mother of this child is prior Army ... I hope that other people want this pose and I will absolutely do it and share it proudly."

Even though Internet trolls tried to get the best of her, Hicks has put the national attention to good use. She has been inundated by requests for photoshoots, and she says she plans to donate 15 percent of all profits earned from those sessions to the USO.

She is obviously an amazing lady, and a proud American.

Do you think a photo like this descrates the American flag?

 

Image via Rafiq Sarlie/Flickr

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