But now a collective of tattoo artists is helping survivors and first responders cope with their physical and emotional pain in a new way – with tattoos.
The Healing Ink Project, an organization that helps survivors of terror and war manage the lingering wounds left from violence with tattoos, held a recent event in New York for 9/11 survivors and first responders.
Participants in the event included Tom Canavan, who survived being trapped under the debris of the Twin Towers and is now a facilities dispatcher at the 9/11 Memorial. Having lived with through 9/11, he told ABC 7 New York, he sees a tattoo as a way to ensure that the world remembers the significance of the attacks.
“Without ever saying a word to anyone, just by showing [this tattoo],” Canavan said, “they're going to know. And they're going to think of 9/11, and it will stay in their conscience.”
Many trauma survivors see a tattoo as a symbol of their pain as well as their perseverance.
"I know tattoos heal people because I've seen it happen," tattoo artist Virginia Elwood said. "They healed me, so I know it will work."
By 9/11 Memorial Staff