TATTOO DESIGNS & SYMBOLS - MEMORIAL TATTOOS
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Memorial Tattoo Designs -
We all have occasions in our lives when we want to remember a
special person, place, or moment in time. We want to pay tribute to
a lost loved one, or mark a journey, or ensure that we never forget
a day like 9/11. Tattoos have proven to be a popular medium for
paying such a tribute, and it's a practice with a long tradition
behind it. Tattoos are striking visual reminders of memories that we
seek to permanently preserve. They are the markers and milestones in
our personal life histories.
At the turn of the 20th century, over 85% of American soldiers were
tattooed in memory of fallen comrades, or in honour of their ships
or regiments. In fact, some anthropologists postulate that the
origin of tattooing can be linked directly to war. Soldiers
returning from the battlefield were proud to show off their scars,
so, it was only natural that the marks would be embellished to
provide further meaning, grief not the least of which. It's no
surprise that these 'R.I.P.' tattoos hold deeper meaning than other
designs and symbols.
The memorial tattoo is either an exact representation of the object
to be remembered, like a portrait, or else it's a symbolic mark like
a name, a date, or a zodiac sign or 'kanji' icon. It probably all
started with the famous 'heart' tattoo with a ribbon banner through
the middle bearing the word 'Mom'. This was popular with servicemen
who wanted to remember home and what they were fighting for. Angels
and cherubs are often chosen to mark the death of a child. Here's a
list of other design elements often found in a memorial tattoo:
· birth and death dates
· zodiac signs
· roses, red or white
· favoured objects of the deceased: an animal, or instrument for
the tattoo is as straightforward as scrolled lettering that informs
us of the memorial. In any event, the memorial tattoo is a product
of a highly emotional state, and it is wise to give your grief a
cooling off period of up to three months in order to chose the best
design that's going to help you 'remember' in the long term. It's
probably better to chose something that 'celebrates' rather than
mourns the loss. That's often not the case in wartime, when tattoo
artists are known to work at a frantic pace to meet the demand
inspired by a strong emotional charge.
It certainly wasn't the case during the American Civil War - when
tattooists plied their trade near the battlefields, moving from
North to South and back again, depending upon which way the winds of
victory were blowing.
the aftermath of the 9/11 catastrophe, thousands did not wait long
to memorialize the firefighters and other personnel lost in the
World Trade Centre. In such situations, memorial tattoos become like
gravestones or epitaphs. Other 'in memory of' tattoos honour those
who have saved a person's life. These "Hero" memorials are also
common tributes to valor, courage and strength of character, and in
many instances, the ultimate sacrifice. For those who survive wars
and catastrophes, a tattoo can help ease the loss and pain and
sometimes the guilt that comes from having lived while others gave
The design elements common to September 11 tattoos are patriotic
banners, bald eagles, the stars and stripes, and indeed any image at
all that's coloured in the red-white-blue motif, including the twin
towers themselves. Unfortunately, some hastily conceived tattoos
include hate messages.
Temporary tattoos are one way to go. A few days to honour a person
or event and then it washes off. Commemorative ribbons are a
favourite of this genre of memorial design. The most temporary of
all are stick on tats, but they all say the same thing: "Gone but
not forgotten". Amen.
See also: Angels, Cherubs, Crosses, Doves, Flags, Hearts, Roses, Stars, Zodiac Signs
Looking for your own memorial tattoo?
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design from Tattoo Johnny
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