135 Top Patriotic Tattoos and Ideas for Men and Women That You Will Love

The Best Patriotic Tattoos You Should See Before Getting Inked

One of the best ways to exalt the country and people you love is to be blooded with patriotic tattoos. It’s literally shedding one’s blood. We can celebrate with body art that expresses national pride and honor the people who have sacrificed so much for our country.

Always Popular

Getting patriotic tattoos has always been popular, but more so after 9/11 and remains very popular. The creativity of both tattoo artists and wearer is inexhaustible and there is always a great idea waiting to be inked proud American skin. Also, this type of tattoo is very popular with servicemen, partners or family members.


After the Second World War, service tattoos became more common. But only at the onset of the Vietnam War did it really became more prevalent but not accepted. However, through the years, patriotic tattoos started occupying a special place in people’s hearts. Some people got inked as a memorial tattoo. Meanwhile, others celebrated their years of service with people who have become their brothers and sisters in arms. This finally made patriotic tattoos become more widely accepted.

A Salute to Patriotic Tattoos

Tattered American Flag Tattoo

There have been questions on whether a tattered Stars and Stripes tattoo is disrespectful. However, a tattoo is creative self-expression and more leeway is given to artists. Additionally, a tattered flag is a symbolic representation that encompasses personal and political beliefs. When it comes to the flag, avoid having a burning flag tattoo.

Frayed Edges to Stylized Rips

There are many styles of tattered flag tattoos. You can have one with minimal fraying edges with the ends flying in the wind. Or you can have a stylized depiction of a part of the flag, some had the tatters shaped differently. 

Here’s a new style as if the flag was floating on water and slowly dissolving. 

Carved in Flesh Flag Tattoos

Remember when the Terminator rent his flesh and showed that he was metal underneath? Well, this is the patriotic equivalent.

This is also another style that uses the American flag as the defining element. However, here the flag is carved into the very flesh of the wearer. The final tat is also very much dependent on the artistry of the tattooist. But what we love about the style is that it shows the flag underneath the skin and proves that the wearer is a true-blue American.

The design isn’t for everyone as it could look violent with the ripped flesh effect. But it is an appealing tattoo piece for the uber-nationalist and has been popular for some time now.

Clawed and Torn Apart

The symbolism in this tattoo is very apparent. That the real flesh and blood of the wearer is his or her patriotism. Most of the tattoos are very graphics with intense colors that highlight the rending of the flesh. They also give off the feeling of wearing a”bodysuit” and the real body is encased on the red, white, and blue colors.

If the tattoo artist does it well, you can have a realistic tattoo that can be both very touching and powerful at the same time. However, the style also makes it prone to a horror-theme tattoo. If the tattooist does not have the subtle artistry to ink the carved in the flesh tattoo, it will come out as lifeless and cartoonish.

Subtle 3D Patriotic Tattoos

The effect is that of flesh torn away violently, leaving behind the American flag lying beneath. The 3D effect is only as good as your artist so make sure to check their portfolios. Look not only at their artwork or idea book. You should also check out pictures and testimonials of their past customers.

Small Patriotic Tattoos

You need not have a big tattoo to have a big spirit of love for your country. It is sometimes the littlest of things that can invoke the greatest of the American spirit. Your patriotic tat can be something cute like a ribbon or a Star and Stripes shield ala Captain America. Or you can have something more religious and subtle as a crucifix dressed in the flag’s colors.  

Whimsical Flag Ribbon

A dainty design that is very popular among the ladies. Most ribbon flags have the blue star-filled and the red and white stripes on the bow.

Uncle Sam Wants You Tattoo

Uncle Sam, the old man caricature who sells bonds and recruits fr the Armed Services, is also a popular icon for a patriotic tattoo.

Patriotic Shield Tattoo

Simple and stylish, this young and modern take on the patriotic tattoo is gaining traction.

Small American Cross

Patriotic We The People Tattoos

Constitution tattoos have become increasingly popular with legal rights beings at the forefront of American daily life. Also known as Preamble Tattoos, these patriotic tattoos always bear the first line of the U.S. Constitution. Most only bear the “We the People” while words continue on with the preamble or include American imagery befitting the highest law of the land.

Constitution Tattoos With Flag

Words Are Enough

Sometimes, just the words are enough to make the meaning come across.

Draped American Flag Tattoos

Like Captain America who wears the flag on his shoulders, the flag beautifully rendered with draping and folds gives a heroic feel. Under the hands of a masterful tattooist, a flag with drapery can fly in the wind or following the contours of the body. The ink is subtle, and so is the play of shadows and light.

Beautifully-Colored and Rendered

Full-Body Patriotic Tattoo

It takes real skill for a tattoo artist to render a full-torso flag tattoo. But coupled with colors and the draping effect, a lot of subtle shading is needed. Be sure to discuss the tattoo extensively with your tattooist, especially with how the final ink should come out.


A muscled armed or bicep can be enough canvas for a beautifully draped or flying American flag.

Simple Patriotic Tattoos

A straightforward tattoo of the American flag like the best of America – straight-talking, natural, and colorful.

American Flag Tattoo Right Arm

The stylized design is simple, and the use of shadow is subtle and uncomplicated.

Here’s to the Left

The flag that has been shaped to fit the state of mind, pun intended.

Iconic Patriotic Mask

Simple enough and small enough to be perfectly drawn on the hand.

B & W Flag Tattoo

Starkly solemn, black and white patriotic tattoos are different from the usual. So much artistry is put in inking, and attention to detail is also important. Price-wise, B&W tats are more affordable than colored ones. However, we love the flag in all its colors.

Subtle Shading


Patriotic Memorial Tattoos

Memorial tattoos are ubiquitous, but there is something quietly heroic about the patriotic ones. Each tattoo has a story to tell. War heroes, those who died fighting the good fight, fallen comrades, a memorial of time in service—no matter for whom we have our ink, what matters is that they live on in our tattoos.

Normandy Invasion

A turning point in WWII, the Normandy invasion has filled the big screen with heroic images. From the paratroopers who fought behind enemy lines to the bombers, pilots, and infantry, we owe them all so much.

September 11

A nation and a world shocked beyond grief, September 11 memorial tattoos are always encased in the feeling that we shall always remember those who died.

Battlefield Cross Patriotic Tattoos

The battlefield cross is the fallen soldier’s symbol. A rifle is planted, barrel to the ground and the soldier’s helmet reverently placed on the butt of the rifle. A symbolic marker since the Civil War for soldiers who died in the battlefield, the tattoo is usually to commemorate a fallen family member or comrade.

A Way to Deal With Grief

A tattoo is not only a way to express one’s character or values but can become a healing way to deal with pain and grief.

For God and Country: Patriotic Religious Tattoos

If we can have God in our money, why not in our patriotic tattoos? National imagery combined with religious symbolism is becoming very popular, especially with the rise of neo-nationalists and the increasing divide among the faiths.

Cross With American Flag Tattoo

A classic combination of the two most iconic symbols of the American patriot, the flag and the cross.

Biblical Scriptures

For those who prefer a simple design rather than having the full scriptural quote, a Biblical chapter and verse are fine.

Biblical Imagery

Whether you want to depict scenes from the Book of Revelations or iconic Church symbols, the more important aspect is the significance the tattoo holds for you,

Beautiful Patriotic Tattoos for Women

Women asking for a patriotic tattoo is not as common compared to the men, but there are designs delicate enough to appeal to the feminine taste.

Ribbon Flag

One of the most popular designs.

American Flag Rose Tattoo

The flag rendered as a rose is also another popular design for women.

Tattoos With Feminine Details

If you want a tattoo designed for women, remember to have something with softer outlines and subtle imagery.

Check Out Patriotic Tattoo Ideas for the Legs

Ideas and designs if you want something on your leg, in case all the arms are full.

The ankle or shin is also another excellent place for your leg tattoo. You can easily hide the tattoo under your pants or your socks.

The designs are not subtle, but the message is powerful.

Quote and Patriotic Motto Tattoo Ideas

When images and symbols are not enough, throw in a few more words to strengthen your nationalistic feeling. Most people chose “In God We Trust”, a personal motto, or famous fighting words and lines from historical or cultural figures.

Words to Live By

An emphatic statement of fighting words that appeal to the rebel in all of us.

It’s all Greek to me.

Or we can go full Latin and sound very smart. Remember to always check the spelling if you are getting a quote tattoo.

Patriotic Tattoos With Dog Tags

Military dog tags have become more than symbols of the Armed forces or identity. They also mean bravery, sacrifice, and integrity. Dog tags tattoos are sometimes worn by servicemen, sometimes as memorial tattoos, and sometimes to honor a loved one or a comrade.

A Family of Soldiers

Dog Tag Tattoos as Memorials

Together with other patriotic symbols, dog tags can commemorate the death of a loved one. Whether it was on the battlefield or as a returned civilian, once a soldier, always a soldier.

In the Service Tattoos

Celebrate the brotherhood that can only be shared in the face of death and danger. A band of brothers blooded by war and adversity and now rendered in ink.

Bald Eagle Patriotic Tattoos

One of the most iconic symbols of America is the bald eagle—strong, majestic, and powerful.

The eagle imagery changes the feeling of a tattoo. Even if a flag is in tatters, the addition of the eagle still gives a powerful effect. As a symbol of endurance, the eagle represents tenacity as a protector of rights. As an eagle-eyed guardian, the king of predators watches its enemies and will be ready to strike down its opponents. And in flight, the American bald eagle is the king of the skies and has no equal.

Eagle on the Shield

The American icon was a symbol of freedom and democracy. With the imagery of the shield, it is also shown as the protector of rights and upholder of good.

Birds of Prey

Eagles are predators, and a patriotic tattoo bearing an eagle in powerful flight is a powerful symbol. It is no wonder then that the use of the eagle imagery is very prevalent, especially coupled with the American flag waving in the air.

The Eagle on Guard

The king of birds keeping watch over its vast domain is another imagery popular in patriotic tattoos.

American Eagle Clutching a Flag

The bald eagle is depicted flying in the air, carrying the flag as a symbol of dominion. It can also be interpreted as carrying and protecting the flag into safety.

Amazing Eagle and Flag Patriotic Tattoo

A beautifully-rendered tattoo of an eagle bursting through the flesh as if escaping the confines of the muscle sinews.

Eagle Tattoo in Red Hues

What separates this tattoo is the reddish hues that somehow gives the effect of a powerfully albeit bloody tattoo. However, the effect isn’t one of death or suffering, but of power and strength. The eagle tattoo also has a paradoxically serene feeling, as if saying that the eagle is the watchful guardian who will fight until the end.

Patriotic 2nd Amendment Tattoos

With the increasing calls for gun control, gun enthusiasts and Second Amendment adherents have taken to incorporating gun imagery into the American flag and other patriotic symbols. Others are also used to illustrate their defense and interpretation of American gun ownership rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. Lastly, most of the gun tattoos that have become popular depict that guns are part of the American way of life.

The Statue of Liberty

Lady Liberty is the gun-wielding lady.

Gadsden Flag Tattoos

The Gadsden flag is a historical symbol of America depicting a coiled rattlesnake on a yellow background with the words “Don’t tread on me.” Popularized by Benjamin Franklin at the onset of the American Revolutionary War, the Gadsden symbol was co-opted by the Tea Party and gun zealots, and to a certain extent, Neo-nationalists. In 2014, it became the subject of racial harassment.

In one of its many iterations, some have dropped the yellow background or stylized the rattlesnake. Some people also adopted only the motto of the Gadsden flag or changed it with including guns. Regardless of what it signifies for you, this patriotic tattoo has become controversial.

Words of Warning

Used as words of defiance or of warning, the “Don’t Tread on Me” motto remains a popular Americanism.

Confederate And Neo Patriotic Tattoos

The Confederate Flag remains a symbol of rebellious slave-owners threatening the Union or a legacy symbol of the Civil War. Where you stand in what it personally and politically means, the flag belongs to one of America’s bloodiest chapters.

Patriotic Tattoo Ideas

Patriotic Tattoos FAQ

Is there a wrong way to wear an American flag tattoo?

The standard is to have it inked the way it would correctly wave in real life, stars on the left and stripes on the right. There are no rigorous rules the way there are in displaying them publicly, it’s your body. But it is best to place your patriotic tattoo in a respectful place. Second, avoid depicting the flag in flames as it brings up images of burning American flags. And lastly, don’t depict the flag being trampled, unless that is exactly what you want. Also, make sure that you thoroughly discuss the design with your tattooist.

Aside from the flag, what are the other patriotic symbols I can use as tattoo imagery?

You can use a few other national symbols representing the U.S. such as the bison and the oak tree. Military symbols are also popular, or you can use your state’s symbols as alternatives. If you are a member of the Nations, a traditional symbol such as eagle feathers and dreamcatchers can also be used.  You can also use famous American landmarks or geography such as Mt. Rushmore or the Statue of Liberty. You can also use the Liberty Bell as an alternative.

Can I wear the flag on the left arm or chest?

Yes. The more important thing is not the left or right side, but how the flag is depicted. Don’t mirror-image the flag and ink it backward. It might look different and trendy but go for the traditional left-going-right.

Any suggestions for a small patriotic tattoo?

A series of different-sized stars, a shield, I heart USA, and fireworks are imagery that can fit a patriotic piece regardless of the size of your tattoo. Or you can go old school and have a simple small flag. Frankly, any of the bigger-sized tattoos can be rendered smaller, you just might end up with fewer details. You can also look for a tattooist who specialized in miniatures, meaning they can work with full-detailed designs on a much smaller scale. Finally, some patriotic tattoos are better rendered bigger because they are meant to be shake-and-awe imagery.

What are the other controversial patriotic symbols?

The Betsy Ross flag which depicts 13 stars has become controversial lately outside of its historical context and if used as a cultural symbol. Other possible controversial imagery, unless you are a member of the Nations, are using Native American symbols. This is especially true of Red Indian caricatures.

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