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One of the most popular modern reasons for getting a tattoo is as a remembrance. Making a mark that will last you the rest of your life is a sure way of remembering a person, place or moment. The anti-tattoo debate is traced to wording in the Bible, in Leviticus 21, which speaks against making cuts or marks in the skin, however, more and more people see the body as being separate from the spirit and view tattooing as a sacred and empowering act. Both directly representational and symbolic images choices can be appropriate for a remembrance tattoo.
One of the classic remembrances is the portrait. Here the wearer chooses to have a picture of the loved one reproduced either in black and white or full color, often from a favorite picture. For this sort of work, be clear about your color preferences and donít be afraid to ask and see examples of this style of work that the artist has done before. Some tattooists specialize in realistic portraiture due to the difficulty of drawing realistically without error.
One of the most popular tattoo responses to the September 11th tragedy was the red, white and blue tattoo. Many people continued to choose the images that were important to them, but then had them colored patriotically. One variation is to have the design colored in a flag-like fashion, with stars and stripes filling the outline. Eagles and outright flag designs have also had a resurgence. Others have chosen to have the lost WTC buildings captured forever in their skin. The simple tattoo shown here is worn by the wife of a FDNY firefighter. Both she and her husband chose to be inked to honor fallen friends.
In ancient Japan, firefighters were some of the most popular heroes, especially as most city buildings of the era were made of paper and wood. They also tattooed themselves all over. Modern American firefighters also have a proud tradition of tattooing, honoring fallen brothers by putting their company numbers and logos into inked form with many relatives doing likewise. In NYC, an engine company flew three CA tattoo artists into town so that they could spend a week tattooing the entire company with the badge of their fallen comrade. Emergency response workers and volunteers have also chosen to add permanent ink after participating in the crisis, both to commemorate the experience but also to mark their endurance and survival.
For those who donít wish to make a permanent commitment, temporary tattoos are often created around an event, allowing a colorful skin statement that lasts a few days at most. The remembrance ribbon appears in almost every color variation in this form of stick-on tattoo, and there are many star and banner designs for the remembrance of September 11th as well.
Remember time heals all wounds, but the ink does last for a lifetime.
Content copyright © 2013 by Rae Schwarz. All rights reserved.
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