Combat unit of fallen hero meets newborn daughter in show of support
Photo: Pinehurst Photography
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (KTVU) - The comrades of a fallen soldier came together to take photos with his newborn baby girl. It was a show of support for Britt Harris who was six weeks pregnant when she lost her husband.
Christopher Harris was killed last August when his patrol vehicle was hit by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. He was 25 years old at the time, and the couple was expecting a baby.
The couple's baby girl - who looks just like her dad - arrived in March and was named Christian Michelle Harris in his honor. Britt Harris tells KTVU, "She is his twin! She looks nothing like me. Same Blue eyes. Dark hair. Tan skin. Same shaped nose. Everything."
Harris says she decided to do the newborn shoot with his combat unit because she wanted everyone to meet Christian together.
Harris wanted Christian to have photos one day of the men and women who served alongside her dad. "Many of which were there when he passed and a few that were survivors from his vehicle. Those are the people she should know and be able to see how much they all loved her right from the beginning," said Harris.
Photographer Kendra Lee of Pinehurst Photography says Christian opened her eyes during the photo shoot, "And here was this miniature Chris looking at me and smiling at me." Lee says her heart was racing and she had tears in her eyes and she tried to focus on capturing the moving images.
Video taken during the photo shoot shows one of the soldiers holding Christian up saying, "Hey Chris, we've got your baby girl. She's not a zebra or a unicorn." The soldiers laughed and clapped as it was an inside joke among the unit. That's because the soldiers had participated in a gender reveal for Britt Harris from Afghanistan. During the gender reveal the same soldier had said, "Is it going to be a zebra or a unicorn?" before pink confetti fell from the ceiling announcing "Baby Harris" was a girl.
At the time of his death, Col. Toby Magsig with the 82nd Airborne Division released a statement saying, "Spc. Christopher Harris was an extraordinary young man and a phenomenal Paratrooper. He regularly displayed the type of courage, discipline, and empathy that the Nation expects from its warriors."
Lee posted the photos on Facebook with the message, “Sometimes all we need to soothe our soul and ease our burdens is the loving hand of a friend gently touching our heart and lifting us towards love”
Lee says the photos are a stark reminder that "freedom isn't free." She is hoping the images help the world remember Harris as the hero he was.