A Virginia photographer triggered a harsh backlash on Facebook after she posted a picture of a U.S. sailor holding his newborn child in an American flag. 

The photo (below) was taken by Vanessa Hicks, who served in the Navy and whose husband is currently deployed.


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But some people did not see it as patriotic. They viewed it as a disrespectful use of the American flag. 

A Facebook page called You Call Yourself a Photographer? shared the picture and wrote, "The flag is not a prop. I repeat: 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 person also called the sailor "disgusting" for posing with his child in this manner and said the picture dishonors U.S. soldiers who have died. Several similar comments followed, with some calling for Hicks to be dishonorably discharged from the Navy. 

In a "Fox and Friends" exclusive, Hicks responded to the harsh criticism, saying she felt like "curling up in a ball" and crying after these comments. 

"I got messages saying 'go kill yourself,' that you don't deserve to be a veteran, that your husband should be ashamed of himself and attacks on the service member holding that baby as well," said Hicks. 

But she said she chose to keep the photo up in order to take a stand against what she sees as cyber-bullying. 

"I have two young daughters and I would not want them to back down to any type of bully. So I decided to take a stand because I believed in the photo. I did not feel that I had done anything wrong. I felt that this photo represents what every military member, past, present and future, fights for," she said. 

Elisabeth Hasselbeck called the picture "absolutely beautiful," while Hicks said the overwhelming response has been positive. 

"I've had people call me all the way from Kansas City, 100 percent disabled combat veterans, saying this picture is what I served for," she said.

Watch the full interview, and let us know your thoughts on the picture.


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