A Memorial Day Tattoo

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster Manassas

A Memorial Day Tattoo


In military life, the Tattoo bugle call is the evening call to quarters preceding Taps.  It is a beautiful call and, to me, a perfect backstop for remembering those who served and sacrificed.

As practically everyone knows, a tattoo is also a piece of artwork permanently inked onto skin.  For me, it is both, but the two are intertwined.

If you have read my profile, you know that I attended the US Military Academy at West Point long ago.  I did not serve too long, but many of my classmates did (and a few are still on active duty), and I saw first-hand the sacrifices they made every day.  Some paid dearly for their service; a few gave everything.  All who served and continue to serve (and their families) sacrifice something, whether it be time in combat, or missing a child's birth, or a loved one's passing.

My father served as a weatherman in the Aleutian Islands during WWII, and my grandfather served briefly during WWI.  I have a diary of a relative (he would have been an uncle with a few "greats" thrown in) who served during the Civil War.  Both he and his brother were killed in action.  My husband served in the Army for 20 years, to include a tour as a field artilleryman in Vietnam.

Until recently, my life continued to be closely tied to the military, since my husband and I owned a business that worked primarily on Department of Defense programs.  I took that work personally because I was working for my friends and my comrades in arms.  We always focused on doing what was best for them and for the Department, not what would make me the most money.

So, where does the tattoo fit in and why am I on ActiveRain these days?  Last summer, my sister and I decided to get tattoos (it just seemed to be the thing to do at the time).  I thought a long time about what tattoo I should get, and ultimately came to the conclusion that my tattoo should reflect where I had been and where I was going.  I thought back on the things that had shaped my life -- my family, my time at West Point, my time in the Army,and my defense contracting career after that.  My life had gone through many changes in the 3 years prior to our decision to get tattooed.  My mother had passed away about 3 1/2 years before, and my husband had passed away nearly 2 years back.  I had also lost my brother about 4 years earlier.  We had all been involved in our contracting business, and their passing ultimately left just my sister and me, and that wasn't enough for our business to continue.  It was time to move into something new, and real estate became my new life.

And my tattoo?  It is a phoenix.  To me, it symbolizes my moving on and being successful in my
 new life.  But that success must be built on everything that came before.  My phoenix rises from the ashes of my past.  It is not that I burned or tried to destroy my past, but rather, everthing that was in my past shaped me and became part of me.  Everyone and everything that touched my life -- my family, my friends, my time in the military -- provided the substance to allow me to go on.

On this Memorial Day, I honor those, both known and unknown, who have served and sacrificed. Every day when I see my tattoo, I remember and thank those who have touched my life and have given me the strength and support to move ahead. 

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day.



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Misstie Pollard
Realtor and Title Settlement Agent - McLean, VA
Answering Northern VA Real Estate Questions.

Great post Pat. I am a fan of tattoos as well. Plus in remembrance of my Dad and other family members who have honorably served in the military. Best wishes to you on your Memorial Day weekend!

May 23, 2014 02:00 AM #1
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

That tatoo is truly impressive, Pat.  When you first showed it to me my jaw dropped.  Most folks start with a something small to test it out.

May 23, 2014 01:45 PM #2
Pat McCormick
Long and Foster Manassas - Manassas, VA

If I'd done that, I may never have gotten the one I truly wanted!

May 24, 2014 12:21 AM #3
Alan Kirkpatrick
Austin Texas Homes - Round Rock, TX
Alan in Austin

Pat: Nice post and great pictures. Beautiful artwork. Have a great weekend. 

May 30, 2014 05:07 AM #4
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I don't know why but you don't strike me as a person who would have a tattoo but then who does in this day and age, almost everybody has a tattoo. Except me. Because I'm too chicken and I can't make up mind what I would like. It's such a pemanent kind of decision to make, and I have a real problem making permanent decisions for myself. No problem with making them for other people though. That cliff? Yes, go jump. Be done with it.

Jun 10, 2014 05:12 AM #5
Pat McCormick
Long and Foster Manassas - Manassas, VA
Alan - Thank you. Elizabeth - I doubt that people who know me well would expect me to have a tattoo either. It is a permanent decision. That's why, after I decided to get one, I spent a lot of time determining what I wanted. I will sometimes go out of my way to do things that scare me as a way of growing (at least that's how I convince myself). I'll do things within reason, that is. I have no desire to go bungee jumping and I wouldn't do piercings since they kind of gross me out.
Jun 11, 2014 01:04 AM #6
Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire

Thank you for a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to our military, Pat.  And, for your explanation of the other kind of tattoo.  I learned something new, and am grateful to you for that as well.  God Bless!

Jun 11, 2014 04:07 AM #7
Pat McCormick
Long and Foster Manassas - Manassas, VA

Ron - Thank you for stopping by to read.

Jun 12, 2014 01:21 AM #8
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

It is a beautiful tattoo and beautiful story of it.

Thanks for sharing it with us.

Jul 08, 2014 05:14 PM #9
Pat McCormick
Long and Foster Manassas - Manassas, VA

Inna - Thank you for stopping by to read it.

Jul 11, 2014 11:35 PM #10
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Pat McCormick

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