For those who have served, would this tattooing offend you?

For those who have served, would this tattooing offend you?

This is a discussion on For those who have served, would this tattooing offend you? within the Bob & Terry's Place forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Hi all, This is kind of a strange a question. So, check out this thread/post here: http://www.defensivecarry.com/forum/...ml#post2844957 My family is "legacy" military from WWI through ...

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Thread: For those who have served, would this tattooing offend you?

  1. #1
    Member Array ChrisATX's Avatar
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    For those who have served, would this tattooing offend you?

    Hi all,

    This is kind of a strange a question.

    So, check out this thread/post here:

    IT came from the Florida Swamps!!!!

    My family is "legacy" military from WWI through Vietnam, skipping only Korea.

    I come 3 generations of Marines on my father's side. My father was a "Full Metal Jacket" era Marine, 100% all the way through. All his friends/hunting buddies were as well, including a couple Recon. I was the only kid I knew growing up who had a father and a grandfather who each had two birthdays, but somehow one of the birthdays fell on the same day for both of them. Unfortunately he was not a nice guy. Abusive, alcoholic, he was toxic. He severely injured his knee in the Corps and was honorably discharged.

    He told me, "boy, if you try to carry on the family tradition, if you go to that recruiter's office, I'll kill you first myself." I remember the conversation vividly. I was 17, it was next to the brick planters in front of the house, he, already several scotches deep, was smoking a cigarette. So I made my career academia/science. I'd be lying if didn't think about it a lot and feel guilty. I'm 28 now. Last chance. I'm finishing a PhD. A doctor, and I still feel guilty that this is my last eligible 6 months, and it won't come to pass.

    My Grandfathers were the Greatest Generation to a picture perfect portrait. The Marine side Grandfather was on Guadalcanal, stayed in the Solomons until a Japanese grenade blinded his right eye. He was sent home and awarded the Purple Heart. He taught me how to hunt, fish, work on boats, shoot guns, take care of guns, be a man's man. He passed away in Spring of 2010.

    My other Grandfather was Army, he was counter-battery field artillery in North Africa. His vehicle was strafed by a Stuka and disabled in the middle of the "surprise" Valentine's Day Panzer attack at Faid, Tunisia during the Battle of Kasserine Pass. Germans tried to get him to drive a half track back to the German line after capture, but he ground the gears out of it instead. He spent the rest of the war at Stalag IIIb, Furstenburg, attempting multiple escapes, including one successful one. He climbed a tree outside the walls to celebrate freedom. He and his companions were ratted out that night by refugees while sleeping in a barn. He helped raise me, taught me to be faithful, honest, and keep your word, he beat the fundamentals of integrity into me. He passed away June 13th, aged 94. Not a better man has walked the Earth than these two.

    When my first Grandfather died, I procured both of their Military service records, and therefore their service serial numbers, and tattooed one on the back of each shoulder, to symbolize them being with me, pushing me forward through life, their hands on the back of my shoulders, no matter what.

    Now that I've written that novel, what would Military folks think if I added a tattoo of his Prisoner of War medal near the number, or the Field Artillery crossed cannons? Are these things taboo since I didn't serve and they aren't MY awards or divisions? I'd love your perspective.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array blitzburgh's Avatar
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    I haven't served so I can't be of any help. I'm interested in the responses as well because my father and now deceased grandfathers have also served and I've been thinking about getting something honoring them incorporated into my sleeve.
    "Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God." - Benjamin Franklin
    "Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn." - C.S. Lewis

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array sioux565's Avatar
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    Not dishonorable at all! Here are my military tattoos of my family members.




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  4. #4
    Member Array OldMick's Avatar
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    Just my opinion, but it wouldn't offend me. To avoid confusion about your service you could add the phrase "in remembrance of" or a similar phrase and list his/their names, ranks and dates of service or theater etc.

  5. #5
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    "Now that I've written that novel, what would Military folks think if I added a tattoo of his Prisoner of War medal near the number, or the Field Artillery crossed cannons? Are these things taboo since I didn't serve and they aren't MY awards or divisions? I'd love your perspective."

    I think that you should be asking for opinions from all members because many who did not serve had family who did serve, were maimed, held captive, were tortured, injured, suffered medically, endured horrific conditions, or died for their service.
    Though your heart is in the right place - your body is not the right place for military tattoos when you did not serve.
    Because everybody that sees your tats will make an automatic incorrect assumption about you.

    Example: If your favorite, best, relative was a Marine and he passed away it would still NOT be appropriate for you personally to sport a Marine tattoo in his memory.

    My father In Law (R.I.P.) who I cared for deeply earned himself a Bronze Star, a Silver, and two Purple Hearts.
    I would not ever consider displaying those on my body.
    It was not me having my jaw, teeth and face rebuilt and there was no shrapnel working its way up through the skin all over my body for years.

    There are just some things that should be reserved for the ones that actually put their lives on the line and spilled the blood and endured the physical, mental, and emotional hardships of war.

    There is no doubt in my mind that your only intention is to celebrate and commemorate the fact that they bravely served but, I would consider having some other more appropriate artwork designed.

    You will then not come across as being a poser by observers who will quite logically make automatic incorrect assumptions about you.

    Looking toward the future I am certain that you do not want strangers walking up to you and thanking you for your service when you did not personally serve.
    Then in order to be honest you will need to go into an explanatory diatribe about how they do not represent you or your personal service to our country.

    That is just my opinion. Other opinions my vary.

    Having their serial numbers tattooed on your body is fine - have an American flag put above those or something else patriotic but do not usurp their hard won honor.

    Not...something that you ever get the right to by proxy. I can only speak for myself. I would not do it.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array sioux565's Avatar
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    When it comes to tattoos, only you should care about them. Don't let the opinions of others keep you from doing something that you want. I would go into a tattoo shop with a few ideas and let the artist create something.

    Good luck!

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  7. #7
    VIP Member Array blitzburgh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sioux565 View Post
    When it comes to tattoos, only you should care about them. Don't let the opinions of others keep you from doing something that you want. I would go into a tattoo shop with a few ideas and let the artist create something.

    Good luck!

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    This coupled with QKShooter's post is IMO the best advice. Any shop worth their salt will have artists that can draw up masterpieces from an idea you (generally speaking, not you personally OP) could hardly describe.

    QK's point about others assuming you served, etc. is a great point as well. I've got a few ideas but I won't be involving any insignia for that exact reason.

    Perhaps a portrait (be careful - just because one is a great tattoo artist doesn't mean they are great at portraits) above the numbers if space allows? Could also maybe alter facial expressions to signify the POW, etc.
    "Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God." - Benjamin Franklin
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Array Caertaker's Avatar
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    OP thanks for sharing memories of your family. I think that doing so honors their memory and keeps them alive in a way. I agree with QKShooter who wrote:
    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    There are just some things that should be reserved for the ones that actually put their lives on the line and spilled the blood and endured the physical, mental, and emotional hardships of war.
    Granted, being old, I don't understand the whole ink thing. When I grew up only former/current military and bikers sported them. But as a beaner I do understand the importance of conducting one's self appropriately in both appearance and fact. While there doesn't seem to be any question (based on your post) that you've got the fact part down, but without you opening your mouth, those tats will give the appearance otherwise. With some people you don't get a chance open your mouth and I suspect your Grandfather might have been one of them. How do you think he would feel if he saw them on your body? Good luck with your decision.
    "I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations” – James Madison 1788

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    Distinguished Member Array squid86's Avatar
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    i would not be offended at all if my daughter got a tattoo in remembrance of me. that being said if they were my tattoos and i was honoring my grandfathers i would have words above it saying "in remembrance" or "in honor of" or something along those lines, just so people dont think it's you who served. but again it is youre body and your tattoos. and is still very nice that you are getting these tattoos to honor your grandfathers.
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  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array bigmacque's Avatar
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    I don't see anything wrong with the tattoo, as long as you don't go around telling people that the honors are yours, that you earned them. And don't go around wearing the medals themselves, or their uniforms, especially espousing them as evidence of your own career.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Array BigCityChief's Avatar
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    Tatoos can sometimes send the wrong message. Inserting "In Memory Of..." can help avoid confusion, or worse, having someone assume you're claiming honors earned by others. That said, your tatoos are your business. I honor my dad's military service by contributing to the USO, the Wounded Warrior Project, and other veterans' support organizations. That's my $.02.
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    I think it's great that you want to honor your grandfathers military service. That generation is fading fast and I think it's important we don't ever forget it. One day your own grandchildren will want to hear the stories behind the tattoo's you have. My only advice is design it so it's reasonably clear what your intentions are.

    In a related matter, there was a guy around here that put a "RANGER" license plate on the front of his civilan jeep. Several people innocently asked him out of curiosity, was he a ranger at some time? He admitted he wasn't and only had put it on to honor his best friend who was the ranger. He caught quite a bit of grief and suspicion about that, the plate soon came off. I don't know how much truth is in his story, but my point is......be careful how you handle this so you won't be the jeep guy.
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array GhostMaker's Avatar
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    Like others have stated, you might get some grief from service members (current or veteran) if it resembled a military tattoo. I personally don't have a concern, as I went through my entire military career without a single tattoo (just a dozen or so scars). In light of the possible concern others have pointed out, you may want to gear any art work more toward the "memorial" as opposed to the military style. Of course it is your body and ultimately your own personal choice on how you will pay tribute to your kinsman who served.

    On a personal note the military careers of your family are without a doubt DOUBLE TOUGH, and stand as a testimony to not only that generation, but also the fighting spirit of American Servicemen. From one old Army Sgt., I snap a salute toward your grandfathers for being the "John Wayne's" of their generation. Hoorah!
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    Member Array ChrisATX's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. I really appreciate your thought out and thoughtful responses. I don't think I'm going to do it. I was on the fence about propriety and reading a lot of your responses pushed me over the edge. I think JUST the serial numbers are exactly perfect. If I did do something else, it would be in memoriam style.

    On another note, I have to have my shirt off to see the numbers, and they are in a 1940's typewriter font. While jogging or at the pool I HAVE had people assume that since they are just numbers, and too few numbers to be SSN's, that they were somehow related to prison.
    Last edited by ChrisATX; July 25th, 2013 at 09:57 AM.
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    Member Array mgillitzer's Avatar
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    The ONLY way I would find this offensive is if you claimed it to be your accomplishments, which since your service number now is you SSN, would be hard since it is a different format. I think it's a great idea with an important meaning behind it. Go get it done!!!
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