Over time, squadrons in the United States Army tend to become as close as family. Soldiers who are stationed far from home rely on one another to lift them up when they’re down, and to share the joys and sorrows of everyday life.
When U.S. Army Spc. Chris Harris was stationed in Afghanistan, his fellow members of the 82 Airborne Division were right by his side when his wife, Britt Harris, FaceTimed him in August 2017 to tell him some exciting news.
Britt had created a handmade baby onesie emblazoned with the words: “Chris you’re going to be a DAD!”
By all accounts, the 25-year-old soldier from North Carolina was ecstatic by the news, and his comrades were right there by his side celebrating with the soon-to-be daddy.
Sadly, Chris would never get a chance to watch Britt’s belly grow, would never meet his baby, and would never get the chance to be the amazing father his friends and family knew he would have been.
On August 2nd, 2017, Chris was killed in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber attacked a NATO convoy.
Britt was heartbroken, but determined to honor her fallen husband in every possible way as she prepared to meet her new baby.
Throughout her pregnancy, Britt kept in touch with the men in Chris’ squadron, sharing updates on the baby and doing her best to create a legacy for her unborn child.
When the time came to reveal the gender of Britt’s baby, she knew she wanted to include Chris’ Army brothers in the momentous occasion. She came up with a plan to surprise them, sending them a box of confetti poppers with instructions to videotape the moment when they opened them up.
The troops dutifully gathered to open the poppers, and seconds later pink confetti rained down on them as they all cheered happily.
Sgt. Joel Crunk the soldier in the video above, shared the moment on his YouTube page with the caption:
“August 2 2017 Chris Harris laid down his life for our country. His newly wed wife was expecting their first child. The reveal is in Afghanistan with the men who fought by his side. We are happy to welcome the new member of our company.”
On March 17, 2018, Britt welcomed her perfectly healthy little girl. She named after her daddy: Christian Michelle Harris.
Britt continued to keep Chris’ memory alive as she filled her Instagram page with pictures of her beautiful new daughter, often draped in Army fatigues and other memorabilia.
Coincidentally, Chris’ squadron returned home from Afghanistan on the same day that Christian was born.
Britt decided it was time to have some professional photos taken, and she knew she wanted to include Chris’ Army brothers now that they were back home. She contacted Kendra Lee and Erin Brady of Pinehurst Photography, two North Carolina-based photographers who habitually photograph military families as a service to their community.
“Living in a military community we often take photos for military funerals,” said Kendra and Erin. “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.”
The resulting photos are absolutely stunning.
The photoshoot was a somber yet joyous affair, and the photographers said they had to work hard to keep their emotions in check as they set up these images that will be cherished by the Harris family for generations.
“We promised Britt that we’d help her tell the world about her hero. We took that promise very seriously and quickly wiped way any tears so we could do the best job possible to bring honor to this incredible family.”
About twenty soldiers showed up to the photoshoot to meet little Christian, all dressed in their military uniforms. Christian wore a special onesie that said, “My Daddy’s my hero.”
The soldiers said that knowing little Christian was back home waiting to meet them made their homecoming even more special. They were thrilled and honored to pay respects to their fallen brother by visiting his family and cherishing his little girl.
“Knowing that we could come home to a baby girl, that was awesome,” said Sgt. Nathan Arthur Bagley. “When everyone came home, that was the day she was born so that made it ten times better.”
While there is no substitute for growing up with the love and guidance of your father, little Christian will instead have a whole division of fine U.S. soldiers to lean on throughout her life. There’s comfort in knowing that Chris’ memory will live on in his daughter, and in all of them.
A GoFundMe campaign has been established by Pinehurst Photography to help Britt and Christian with their new life.
What a beautiful tribute to a fallen hero. Rest in peace, Spc. Harris. Your memory will live on in your beautiful daughter.
Please share this story to pay your respects to U.S. Army Spc. Chris Harris.