So, I’ve been working on finishing up my tattoo sleeve for almost two years now, and I thought today, Memorial Day, would be a good day for me to look back at one piece of the sleeve in particular.

Every individual piece of my tattoo sleeve is representative of an important family member in my life, and the piece shown in the picture above is in memory of my paternal grandfather.

My grandfather enlisted in the Navy right after he graduated high school and he served our great country during the Korean War on the USS Merrick. The ship in the background of the piece is that ship, the USS Merrick, and the call numbers on the side are the actual call numbers from the ship. The woman in the tattoo is also significant to me because my grandfather had a workshop that he spent a lot of time in when I was growing up, and on one of the walls in that workshop, he had a ceramic figurine of a Navy pinup girl that looked very similar to the woman in my tattoo. My family still has the ceramic pinup girl in our possession somewhere, but it’s not something I have for myself. When my tattoo artist asked me what color I wanted her suit to be, I told him I wanted a light blue, almost powder blue for the color because that’s the color of suit the ceramic pinup had.

My favorite story about my grandfather from his days in the Navy is the time he hooked up loudspeakers on the Merrick for all of his shipmates to hear news and music from the mainland radio stations. I love knowing this story because I would have done the same thing! I can’t hardly do anything without music, so I know I would have found a way to have music on the ship while we were out at sea. I would have gone crazy otherwise!

I love knowing that I have a piece of history on my arm that I carry with me every day, and I think about my grandfather pretty frequently, over four years after his passing. Memorial Day is one of those days during the year that I always think about him and the impact he made on me, my family, and my country serving in the United States Navy.

Happy Memorial Day! Much love,

Brady \m/ (>.<) \m/