A controversy is brewing over a beautiful photograph of an infant cradled in the American flag while the parent, a uniformed Navy veteran holds their newborn.
Some argue that this photographer has “desecrated” the flag by capturing this image. Others, such as me, say that this photo represents the sacrifice that our service members make each and every day that are so often forgotten. Members of our military serve with dignity and honor and often their families have to take a selfless back seat to their service, uprooting their lives and living in worry. This picture captures what each and every service member fights for and puts their life on the line for—freedom. Military personnel realize that a free America means the preservation of freedom for future generations.
Considering that our men and women in uniform fight for others freedom of speech and the freedom to burn the American flag—I think they have the right to take photographs such as these. I grew up understanding the sacrifice that our service members make for our country as my grandfather and my uncle have both proudly served in the United States Air Force. Military service was never a question for my uncle or for my grandfather—who constantly had to move their families around the country and even internationally as part of their service.
I know firsthand how difficult these moves can be for the families and how heartbreaking each and every tour is waiting for your loved one to return home safely. If those who are willingly fighting to defend our freedoms, they have the right to exercise theirs. Just look at photos of deployments and returns and I’m sure that your eyes will tear up. The love, sacrifice, selflessness, faith, and patriotism of military families are unlike any other. I am thankful each and every day for those who serve and selflessly risk their lives so that I can enjoy and exercise my freedoms. All too often Americans take their freedoms for granted, I myself am guilty of this. Because of their service I can live where I want, believe in what I want, and for the most part (according to law) do what I want.
Maybe, just maybe this photograph was taken because the Navy veteran wanted to capture her love of country and love of family in one breathtaking photo. Her patriotism is honorable and her selfless sacrifice is commendable. Please know that the ability to criticize this photograph is allowed because of the fact that this soldier fought to defend that right. Remember, America is free because of the brave.
This beautiful photograph represents the beauty, the sacrifice, the heartbreak, and every emotion that comes with service in the United States military and I encourage others to share the photo and to thank a soldier for their service.