Tiny Christian Michelle Harris will never meet her father, who was killed in action in Afghanistan before she entered the world.
But the 2-month-old will always have the love and support of her dad’s U.S. Army Airborne unit, whose members gathered this week for a photo shoot, holding her little body in their highly trained hands.
“I wanted to let everyone meet Christian together,” North Carolina mom Britt Harris told InsideEdition.com Thursday. She wanted her daughter to “have these special and formal photos… to show her the men and women that served alongside her father.”
Spc. Chris Harris was killed by an Afghan suicide bomber in August 2017, just days after learning he was going to be a dad.
Christian was born on March 17. Since then, her mother has been in contact with her dad’s fellow soldiers, arranging a date and time when they could gather to see the baby girl whose intensely blue eyes are an exact match of her father’s.
“Those are the people she should know, and be able to see how much they all loved her right from the beginning,” said Britt.
The men and women who served with Chris arrived in their dress uniforms, and they took turns holding Christian, wearing a white onesie emblazoned with “My daddy’s my hero.” Her father’s dog tags hung from her teeny neck.
Perhaps the most profound shot of the day came when the soldiers stood in a circle, holding Christian with the palms of their hands as if offering her up as a blessing.
“I had this image in my head of them supporting her,” said photographer Kendra Lee, a friend of Britt’s who did the shoot.
She wanted to recreate that imagery in real life, but didn’t know if her infant subject would cooperate.
Christian’s eyes were closed as she was held aloft. Then she opened them and looked straight into the lens.
“I couldn’t hold back my tears,” Kendra said. “She looked just like her dad.”
Her mother says she will never let her daughter forget her father, or her military family.
“No matter where the Army takes them all, I will be able to show Christian how they all came together for her.”