Sep 07, 2011 2:30 AM GMT
I was one of the last people to see Mark Bingham
alive. I was doing temporary tattoos back then. He
came to my set up just before 9/11 during the
Southern Decadence festival
and picked out a bear claw symbol he wanted me
to draw on his shoulder. Of course we know
this tattoo on a man means they are attracted to
large hairy men. But since many people don’t know
this, I always ask the same question to gently steer
an unknowing straight man from getting this
tattoo (and he appeared very straight.) I said
“you’re getting this for courage
right?”. I watch their response to see if they realize
what it actually means. When I asked Mark this
question, he said “yeah, you never know when
you’ll need a little extra courage”. He then winked
at me and smiled to let me know he was aware of
it’s meaning. I felt a spark with him and took a bunch
of photos of him before he left and gave him my number.
I was a little bummed out when he didn't call but of course
I had no idea why.
The picture on the cover of “Hero
of Flight 93” is of him showing off his tattoo just after I finished
it. (They cropped the tattoo off for the book.)
I had no idea who he was until exactly one year after 9/11.
A customer told me he saw me
on a website doing Mark’s Bingham’s tattoo. And I was like
"Mark who?" When I looked at the photo, I knew instantly
who he was and I realized why he never called.
I always felt like I had known someone who had died
in 9/11 because of how deeply it had affected me.
Even though I only got to talk with him a few
minutes while I was drawing his tattoo, he made a
big impression on me. When you are in the
presence of some people, you just get the feeling
they're special. I guess it sounds kind of silly, but a
part of me is proud to know he was wearing his
“courage” tattoo when he was taking on those
hijackers in his last moments.