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Tattoo designs - M >> Memorials

Memorial TattoosMemorial 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.

Memorial TattoosThe 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 example

Memorial TattoosSometimes 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.

Memorial TattoosIn 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 their lives.

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

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Tattoo designs - M >> Memorials

Tattoo Symbol Index - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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