In a poignant reminder of the countless sacrifices made by military families for their country, a newborn’s photoshoot from America has got everyone teary-eyed on social media. The beautiful photoshoot of two-month-old Christian Michelle Harris is going viral for a very special reason. Her mother, Britt Harris, invited the army personnel who served along with her late husband for the big day.
Her husband, US Army Specialist Chris Harris, was killed in Afghanistan in August 2017 when a suicide bomber attacked a NATO convoy — merely days after he got to know that he was expecting his first child. Dealing with the huge loss was extremely difficult for his 26-year-old wife — who was pregnant then. However, Britt made sure her late husband’s ‘army brothers’ were still a part of their lives when her daughter was born.
To mark Christian’s birth and the year’s Memorial Day, she planned a moving tribute with members from Harris’ unit. The photoshoot was held a day after the Memorial Day at Cape Fear Botanical Garden in the family’s hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina, where the little girl with daddy’s friends became a beacon of hope.
“It’s comforting,” Britt Harris told TODAY. “They all mention Chris, tell stories about him, and seeing them go from big macho Army men to baby-talking and waiting in line to be the next one to snuggle Christian truly warms my heart. It’s so wonderful to see how much she is loved.”
Talking to indianexpress.com, the photographers who shot the viral series spoke about the emotional challenges they faced while capturing these moments. “When I was thinking of a way to include the members of his unit, I tried to imagine my own children. How I held them when they were born, in my arms, looking at me. Examining their every feature. I pictured Britt looking at her beautiful daughter, Christian who is the exact image of her father. My heart ached as I imagined the joy and absolute sadness she would feel all at once,” Kendra Lee of Pinhurst Photography said in an email interview.
Giving an insight as to how the viral shot of Christan with her father’s friend came along, the 37-year-old photographer said, “I imagined his friends, who were with him when he died, putting their arms around them, supporting them and loving them…helping Christian know her father.”
Preserving memories for military families is very close to the hearts of Lee and Erin Brady, who helped her with the make-up for the photoshoot. “Living in a military community we often take photos for military funerals. We never charge, and never use them for advertisements. They are a way for us, as non- service members, to give back to our community,” she added.
Shedding light on the “promise” she made to Britt to tell the world about “her hero”, Lee, a mother-of-two further added, “We told Britt we’d be there for the dark times, but also would be there for her (at no charge) to document the light when it returned to her life.”
Watch the behind-the-scenes from the photoshoot here:
After the first photos of little Christian, born on March 17 this year, went viral — that showed her tucked inside a box along with her father’s military uniform, boots and the American flag she was given upon his death — many came forward to extend their support.
Soon after, the second set of images with the army troops melted many hearts all across the globe and Lee set up a GoFundMe Page for those who wanted to help the little one. “Friends started reaching out asking to donate to Christian and turning them away did not feel right. So I created the Go Fund Me. I can’t imagine being alone raising a daughter. Sometimes it’s hard enough with a husband that provides and my own income. Any little bit helps, and if the go fund me alleviates any pressure at all, then it is worth it,” she added.
Talking about why the second photoshoot was so important, Britt said, “I’ll tell her that no matter where the Army takes all of them, there was a time when they were all together here and showed up just to see her.”
“These photos will show her all the men and women that served alongside her father, and a few of them that were survivors from his vehicle,” the 26-year-old mother said.