Army Themed Tattoos…
North America has had a somewhat controversial history with tattoos. Before the 60s saw an embrace of the practice, tattooing one’s body was scorned and considered perverse. In fact, during the late 19th century the only time tattooed bodies were on public display were at travelling “freak” shows. Other than in circuses tattoos were only found on slaves, army deserters and, most commonly, on prisoners. It’s no wonder tattoos got such a bad reputation, being tattooed was practically synonymous with being deviant.
This finally started to change in the early 1900s when sailors returned from to shore sporting blue-inked biceps. These marks were often small and simple, just an anchor, a phrase or a flag, but they signified a patriotic devotion to the marine lifestyle. Suddenly tattooing became synonymous with masculinity, not deviance, perhaps for the painful ordeal that one must endure to get one. Not long after, army men were tattooing their lovers’ names, their platoon numbers, the battles they’ve survived, and, morbidly enough, how many they’ve killed.
Though the U.S. Government is cracking down on tattoos, especially in the higher ranks of the military, many soldiers still display at least a few. There are some recurring themes in military tattoos, like I’ve mentioned before, showcasing a dedication to the American cause. The bald eagle with the American flag in the background is as American as it gets. A symbolic coat of arms, rank and designation are just as common. Religious themes are also prevalent: angels, churches and crosses as well as commemorations of fallen friends during battle. Military tattoos can be both individual and personal, but those that choose the lifestyle of a soldier make sure to wear their pride on their sleeves, quite literally.