Monday, April 21, 2008

Ink

Some things in my life have changed me;

The Patriot Guard

September 11th, 2001

My brother going to Iraq

My son joining the Marines and his graduation

The many funerals I have been too

The sum of these parts or experiences (plus many others and a little smart ass) gets you me. For a couple years now, I've been thinking of how one can express those ideals, beliefs and convections symbolically. Photos, songs, art, etc., etc.

When I went to San Diego for my sons graduation from MCRD (Marine Corp Recruit Depot) I bought a patch. I wear it on my vest with one of his last name badges. Here is a scan. Nice enough, it is my son and a link to a very important memory. But it is not me, it IS a part of me.

September 11th changed so many people... there were days after that I wanted to drive to NYC to help... to do anything. I remember thinking, "I can carry buckets of rubble; let the fire fighters fight fires or rest." I felt helpless, I so wanted to do something. I ended up 'not letting them win'. Within a couple weeks of 9-11 I was flying for business. I was not going to stop doing the things they wanted to scare us into stopping. AND, I swore I'd never forget. I've been to NYC three times since then. Every time, I go to ground zero. Every time, I will.

When my brother announced he had re-joined the Marines/Navy so he could go to Iraq, I was prepared. The rest of the family was shell shocked. I would have been too, but he and I had discussed it in great detail a few months prior. I remember a couple things very distinctly:
1 - before he left, he told me that hardest thing he was doing to get ready wasn’t the physical training, (he was 38 at the time) or the 80 pound pack or the additional 40 pounds he got because he was a medic... it was having to write 'good-by letters' to me, my kids, our parents, his friends... That statement brought it all into a shocking reality.
2 - going a few days without talking to him drove me nuts. See here for more.

Funerals. 3 years ago, when co-workers lost a family member, I did not go to the viewings and defiantly did not go to the actual service. I did not handle funerals well. Now... I've been to many. The solemn words, the final good-byes, family members 'thanking' me...for being there. I go there to thank them, to support them.
The most moving part of any military funeral is the 21 gun salute; the shells are retrieved and tucked in to the folded flag that was on their loved ones casket then the flag is presented to the wife or mother.

A patriot. I have always been proud of my country and my flag. I always stand at a parade. I LOVE this country. I couldn't join the service with my son, or go fight with my brother. I didn't go make a difference in NYC but I can stand and honor the families of the fallen. I AM a Patriot Guard Rider. I ride to protect the families from the nut jobs... 'nough said 'bout that.

So, you ask, what does all of this lead up to, what does it mean? Like I said, I've been thinking about this for a couple years. Saturday, I pulled it all together.

Crossed flags from an MCRD patch
An American flag
A PGR flag
An American bald eagle
Hands passing and hands receiving a folded flag
and
"I WILL NOT FORGET"

Almost eight hours later, this is what I had...

17 comments:

Kat said...

WOW - PERFECT!

DNR said...

Thanks Kat. I think so too.

LL said...

Nice ink, sugar.

DNR said...

Thanks Lady! Already thining about the next one.

betme said...

It is a beautiful post and an awesome tat.

DNR said...

Thanks betme!

DCsporty (AKA SpeedBump) said...

Well done!
Whats next I wonder??

DNR said...

Thanks my friend!

Been thinking about making the hands an arm band (go all the way around the back) with the name of all conflicts since WWI intertwined. in green camo and desert camo.

B Matthews said...

Oh my god, that's awesome. WOW!!!

DNR said...

Thanks B! Awesome does sum it up.

Dazd said...

And it is with writings and events like this I am proud to call you friend!

Awesome tat my brother...simply awesome!

DNR said...

Dazed, my friend, you know this blogging thing is your fault, right?

Glad you like it.

Dazd said...

Yes, but you enjoy it and doing rather well so I'll gladly accept fault.

BTW...sent some linky goodness your way from my 4-5 faithful readers.

Pink Icing said...

Woa!
This looks a beautiful testament to the sum total of your being. Cool

Epiphany Rocks.......

DNR said...

Dazd - heh, thanks. And THANKS!!! Love the linky goodness!!

Pink Icing - “Woa” is a cool complament. Thanks!!
“Epiphany Rocks.......”?? ok, ok I’ll stop by.

Steph said...

Very nice, congrats and welcome to the club! ;)

I'm afraid to ask how long it took to draw it out and everything.

DNR said...

Thanks!! I'm finding it is a very large club.

I spent just under 8 hours under the needle.