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Everyone's Freaking Out Over This Photo Of A Veteran's Baby Wrapped In An American Flag

The photographer, Vanessa Hicks, told BuzzFeed News that she never expected this kind of backlash.

Posted on March 12, 2015, at 1:17 p.m. ET

Professional photographer and Navy veteran Vanessa Hicks recently did a photo shoot with active-duty Navy member Rodney Clevenger, his wife Samantha, and their newborn son.

One of the photos has caused a huge controversy on Facebook, however, with many saying that Hicks and the Clevengers disrespected the American flag by swaddling their newborn in it.

Hicks wrote on Facebook that she stands by her photos and that standing up for what she believes in is the American thing to do.

Yesterday, I woke up to see this photo was shared on a group site that is meant to bash other photographers. It was in their opinion I had disrespected our nations flag. I had disrespected our country by taking this picture. Several of these people not only bashed the picture, but me, saying I should be ashamed of myself, my husband should be ashamed, etc and I received several private messages to my business page. They even took it a step farther and bashed the service member in the picture, hoping he gets in trouble for participating in desecration of 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 pull into ports and you see protestors with our flag and have spray painted horrible things on it. 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.

"The inspiration behind this photo is that we wanted to capture everything about this family in one shot," Hicks told BuzzFeed News. "The father, who is in uniform, is currently serving. The mother is a veteran. This baby is being wrapped in the flag."

Also, the unsuspecting military family caught in the midst of a Facebook fight are now getting support from strangers who come across their photos.

The Clevengers and Hicks are also being invited on a slew of talk shows to defend their photos. And Hicks announced on Facebook that she'd be giving the family free photos for life.

"I am not sure why it received such negative reactions," Hicks said. "I am proud of this photo and sticking by it!"

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.