Controversy over Beach veteran’s use of flag in photo

Virginia Beach, Va. (NBC News) — A Virginia Beach photographer and veteran posted a photo Sunday of her friend, also a Navy veteran, holding her newborn child cradled in an American flag.

While some viewers feel the picture is a potent metaphor, others have taken the photographer to task for disrespecting the flag.

Vanessa Hicks posted the photograph to her professional Facebook page on March 8 as part of a collection, and received generally positive feedback. But the next day another Facebook page, You Call Yourself a Photographer?, shared the image with a scathing caption that suggested she was disrespecting the flag.

“I am very well aware of our U.S. Flag code. I also know exactly what desecration of a flag is … It’s when you watch the news and you see other countries burning our flags, and you are a young Quartermaster scared because you know you are just a few nautical miles from that exact country.”

Sensitivity surrounding uses of the American flag can run high, but many are unaware of the official Flag Code. Violations of flag etiquette occur all the time, like at night without illumination or hung after they’ve been tattered and soiled.

In her post on Tuesday, Hicks noted that she chose not to take down the photo, despite the scrutiny. “I stood up for the picture,” she said. “To me, that is what being an American is about.”

Photo courtesy of Vanessa Hicks Photography

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