It began as a simple family photo session. The magical moments of a beautiful newborn captured forever. But when Navy veteran turned professional photographer Vanessa Hicks, posted the photo she took of little Landon Clevenger in a hammock made of an American flag being held by his active-duty father in his military uniform it caused a storm of opinions to rain down on her decisions.
“This is what he was fighting for, his son wrapped in an American flag,” Hicks told ABC News. Hicks quickly began receiving hundreds of messages about the post. The messages ranged from intense anger that the flag was being desecrated to prose of support for the beauty of the image.
“The flag is not a prop,” wrote the unnamed person behind the page, which focuses on highlighting bad photography from around the Internet. “To use the American flag in such a way is disrespectful, rude, tacky, disgusting, and against the U.S. Flag Code.”
According to USFlag.org,
“The Federal Flag Code has guidelines for the treatment of the U.S. flag, including rules against letting the flag touch the ground, against it being worn as apparel, and against it being used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying or delivering anything”.
Hicks was torn by the negative feedback and questioned herself and her decision to keep the image online. Then she recalls, “I had a disabled veteran tell me ‘this is what I fought for,'” she said. Hicks, whose husband is active-duty Navy, says “I do believe that this picture right here shows what it means to be an American. That flag, the uniform, that baby — exactly what every service member is out there fighting.” Hicks said.
“[My husband] wouldn’t die for a flag, he would die for the freedoms that this country offers,” she told ABC News.
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