VETERANS HAVE TATTOOED FOR years, but in the late 1970s, a small group of young Vietnamese girls started putting them on for themselves.
Now the practice is spreading as a result of the war.
The VET, or Vietnamese American Veterans Association, says that since the Vietnam War began in 1975, the number of tattooed Vietnam veterans has jumped by nearly a quarter.
More than 20,000 Vietnamese American veterans have been tattooed in the past decade, and the number is expected to rise to more than 30,000 by 2021, said Mark Folland, the group’s president.
“The Vietnamese people are the ones who are going to be the beneficiaries of the tattooing,” he said.
In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a tattoo on the arm could be a protected form of expression, but the ruling was based on a narrow interpretation of the First Amendment.
The justices also ruled that the use of tattooing to honor a deceased veteran was not a violation of the Constitution because it was not motivated by hate speech.
Since then, the VAA says, the tattoo trend has become popular among young Vietnamese Americans and is growing nationwide.
The number of tattoos in the U: 1,086,939, according to the VCA.
According to a study by the American Tattoo Institute, a trade association for tattooists, the most popular tattoo on U..
S.-born men is a giant circle with the word “VA,” which stands for Vietnam.
Tattoo artists say they are doing it for social commentary, but Follard said that the goal is not to hurt anyone’s feelings but to express one’s love.
“If we want to do that, we can’t do it for someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” he told NBC News.
Follie, the president of the VTA, said that tattoos are a way of showing affection to people in a relationship and also as a way to connect with other veterans.
“We want to show our respect for each other,” he explained.
The American Tattoos Institute says that in 2018, more than 6,000 tattooed vets took part in the first-ever Veterans Tattoo Day.
Folls, however, said there are also veterans who have not received tattoos but who have been turned down because of their tattoos.
Felt like a good deal, Folli said.
It took me a couple of weeks to get my first tattoo.
“That was kind of like a one-time thing,” he added.
In the early 1980s, Vietnam was ruled a communist country, and many Vietnamese Americans were denied citizenship.
“They were a little bit afraid of the government because they didn’t know how much money they would make,” Follis said.
He got a tattoo to express that.
The first one was done on his forearm, and Follies wife put it on her left arm.
“I wanted to give a little signal that I was still a Vietnamese American.
I did it on my arm and on my left arm and it went on all over my body.
The tattoo was very, very subtle,” he recalled.
“But that’s just the beginning.
I’m still a Vietnam veteran.
I still have a Vietnam flag on my shirt.”
He was accepted into the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) in 1995, and has tattoos on his neck, chest and right leg.
Folsons daughter, Heather, also got her tattoo.
He said she was very proud of her tattoo and that she and her family have been able to maintain a good relationship.
“You can’t be a Vietnam vet and still be a loving family.
That’s just a fact,” Folls said.
Fells wife, Cindy, said she has tattoos of her own.
“It shows you love, respect and compassion,” she said.
“All that we have is our love for our family and our country.”
Folls has been tattooing for about 15 years.
“When I first got my tattoo, I thought it was a little weird,” Fols says.
“There was nothing to explain it.”
He said he has no regrets.
“In my mind, I was like, Oh my god, I’m going to have a tattoo of my father.
It’s just part of the culture of the country,” he continued.
“Being a Vietnam-American, it was just a way for me to express myself.”
In a way, Folls says he is a symbol for the country.
“People have seen my tattoos and they have a different reaction.
They have a more positive response,” he says.
Folds of the Vietnam vets at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 2014.
FOLFS SAY HE HAS NO REASON TO DISCHARGE HIS VET TATTOOS FROM A VET’S OFFICE FOR A FACT.
He has been working with the VVA for 10