Veteran stirs controversy with unique American flag photo

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- A photographer and Navy veteran is facing online criticism after she posted a professional photo to Facebook of her friend, also a Navy veteran, holding a newborn baby wrapped in an American flag.

Prior to making the picture public, she and the friend's family were thrilled over the photo.

"I mean, before all this, they loved it," Hicks told ABC13. "The mom shared it on her Facebook page. The grandmother was there and loved it. I had gotten nothing but positive feedback," she said.

But once Hicks shared it on her own Facebook page, it was quickly picked up by another page -- and subsequently lambasted by many for its content.

The Facebook page You Call Yourself a Photographer? shared her photo, with a scathing caption that read, in part,

The flag is not a prop.


To use the American flag in such a way is disrespectful, rude, tacky, disgusting, and against the U.S. Flag Code.

The page's post currently has more than 500 comments -- some taking offense, many others coming to the photographer's defense.

Hicks told ABC13 she later complained to Facebook for cyber bullying, but to no avail.

"It made me second guess what was Facebook's policy on harassment if this, a page that is created to bash, to go on people's business pages and bash them. If that's not harassment, then what is?" she told the station.

Hicks told WTKR she was not only the victim of ferocious comments on that page, but also was receiving direct messages and comments on other works on her page.

She spent "[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," as a result, she told WTKR.

But Hicks now stands by her photo, saying she believes it represents everything America is about.

"I stood up for the picture. To me, that is what being an American is about." she wrote in a lengthy Facebook post Tuesday. She added that she could have "let the hatred of some cyber bullies get to me," but chose instead to remain proud of the photograph.

According to WTKR Hicks joined the Navy out of high school, serving for four years, and is now a Navy wife. Her husband is currently deployed.

She told multiple outlets she hopes the photo inspires others to do a similar pose with the flag.

The photo currently serves as her Facebook page's cover photo.


  • Renegade

    People seriously need to get a life or go step in front of a moving train. Can’t believe u actually let idiots make u cry over this

  • Pat

    I believe many have used the flag, as a prop, especially politicians. For those having a coronary, over this issue, please remember that your concerns should be resting with those that are still serving, in war zones, appreciating the sacrifices made by all service members, and not how this photographer used it to not only honor a service member, but to welcome a new American citizen into “the folds of our American symbol of freedom…………….

  • Phill Davenport

    Ms. Hicks, i rarely comment on news posts as it is tiring dealing with cyber bullies. I find this photo inspiring and beautiful. I got the meaning when I first saw the photo, even before I read the article. Don’t let bullies ever make you doubt your talent. I have a son still in the Navy (reserves) and one who served in the Army. This is not a desecration of the flag, to me it is an honorable representation of what America is supposed to be about. The nation wrapping us in tis embrace! Thank you and your family for your service. I wish I had this photo with my son and grandchildren.

  • Robin

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with this photo and find it charming. People need to start using their negative energy to do something about horrible things in our society and not get so bent out of shape by a sweet picture.

  • Sean

    The flag is used by our military and government to honor the dead (whether it is on a casket or flown at half mast)…why not use it to celebrate the new. Births are what will help continue this nation for generations to come. Celebrate life…celebrate our country.

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