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By Andy Fillmore / Correspondent
Posted Apr 20, 2018
“The tattoo is a memorial to my brothers and sisters who never came home,” said John Collie.
Collie said he has post traumatic stress disorder and continues to have flashbacks about horrific sights in the war, from Vietnamese children wired with hand grenades approaching American troops to “eight hour snakes” that hung from trees in the jungle and caused death within eight hours if you were bitten. He said sometimes even smells have been known to trigger PTSD, like a match bringing back memories of the scent of gunpowder.
Vietnam War veteran John Collie carries an ever-present reminder of his lost comrades.
Collie, 66, has a tattoo that covers his back and depicts four Vietnam-era Huey helicopters, a POW camp tower, a silhouette of a prisoner of war and sharpened cane poles piercing a suspended skull. Flowing tattooed script across his shoulder blades reads “Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.”
“The tattoo is a memorial to my brothers and sisters who never came home,” said Collie, adding that the “masterpiece” was done by artist Brian Adams and took four hours to complete in one sitting
Collie served with the 173rd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War for 18 months after boot camp in 1971. He said he left most of his military connected papers and decorations for his service at the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall when the memorial was on display in St. Petersburg.
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