–image source for cover image
Military tattoos are illustrations of the story that soldier or veteran is living. They are both deeply personal and point to a connection with a much larger story: an event, a family made of fellow soldiers, a literal and figurative battle whose effects still echo loudly in their minds. Military tattoos hold honor and sometimes, catharsis.
Some stories are told in words; others are told in ink.
– War Ink
Though the population of United States enlisted servicemen and women is certainly diverse, there is one common thread that binds them together: love of country. An enlistee is a civilian until he or she takes the Oath of Enlistment:
“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same …”
It is through this transformation that more and more soldiers are finding themselves united through another common thread: their military tattoos. These tattoos are maps and canvases of their journey; they are memorials; they are the tie that binds.
These are a few of the most inspiring military tattoos we’ve found.
- “Live for God, Die for my country.”
- ooh rah!
- The whole platoon
- Forever tagged
- “Pray for peace, prepare for war”
- Tags ‘N Roses
- “Freedom’s never free”
Here is a brief history of military tattoos. If you are a veteran yourself, you won’t be too surprised to read that 36% of veterans and servicemen have tattoos. If you’ve seen combat, that number rises to 90%!
For even more insight into the deep link between servicemen and ink, watch this short and moving video by War Ink:
In military culture, overt emotions often seem taboo. However, companionship and commradery is key. These bonds have an intensity that can be difficult for others to understand, and when service ends, difficult to replace. Many veterans choose to honor these relationships through permanent ink. These tattoos commemorate a pivotal time that shaped history. These tattoos commemorate a pivotal time that shaped each individual soldier.