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Tattoo U: Some Tech Students Turn To Body Art To Make Sure They Never Forget

by Tricia Sangalang
News Staff Writer
April 23, 2007

She walked into Ancient Art Tattoo & Body Piercing Saturday evening to find four other people waiting in line before her. The parlor’s managment told her to come back 45 minutes later.

Sophomore Hailey Bost returned to the shop and told tattoo artist James Babb she wanted a black ribbon with a “VT” across the middle.

Babb, who is from Little Rock, Ark., and has six years of tattooing experience, joined the Ancient Art team in late February.

Ancient Art, established in 1973 by acclaimed tattooist Danny Fowler, is “Virginia’s First Professional Tattoo Studio,” according to its website. It has three locations, one in Roanoke, one in Charleston, W.Va, and one in Blacksburg off Roanoke Street.

After Bost revealed her vision for her tattoo, Babb told her that specific design has been quite popular among his customers this week. He told her she was “probably the 40th person to get the same tattoo.”

Bost said she had decided she wanted to get another tattoo after her first one, a Christian fish on the inside of her left food, but was unsure what the design should be.

After Monday’s events, she was inspired.

“When this happened, I just knew,” she said. “I saw the design on Facebook (and) I loved it.”

While she waited to go into one of the tattooing rooms, Bost had some hesitation, but after further thought, she gained an unyielding conviction that getting the tattoo was “…the least (she) could do… it’s a way to pay tribute to the many who lost their lives.”

Bost sat in the dentist-like chair for about 25 minutes while Babb first outlined the ribbon and “VT,” and then filled in.

She recalls it felt longer than that simply because Babb changed colors three times.

“It definitely hurt worst than the first one I got,” she said. “But I wanted it on my foot because I’d like for people to know that this event is something that will be with me forever.”

More than a few Tech students followed Bost’s example and decided to commemorate Monday’s events through a tattoo.

Senior and human nutrition and food exercise major Mario Travis arrived at the shop with a friend when it opened at 1p.m. Sunday. Within minutes, seven more people walked in, hoping to get an appointment.

Babb, who was the sole tattoo artist working at the time, explained he was fully booked for the day.

“Forty to 50 people have come to get (“VT”) tattoos since Tuesday and much more scheduled for today,” Babb said. “It’s been students mostly, but some other adults who are just in town have come in too.”

Travis, who saw his friend’s Virginia Tech-inspired tattoo recently, decided to get a black ribbon with the words “l’amiamo” (an Italian phrase which translates to “we love you”) across the center.

“I wanted to show my support any way possible,” he said.

Among those who walked in when the shop opened were two members of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad, President Matt Green and Vice President Matt Lewis. Green explained to Babb that at least 15 members of the squad wanted to come in and get similar tattoos. Unfortunately, due to scheduling, Babb could not fit all the members in Sunday.

“We want the rescue squad logo, with the ribbon behind it,” Green said. “We didn’t want to just commemorate the incident, but also the rescue squad and show how we’re a part of it.”

Reflecting on how many people have come in to get tattooed the past week in honor of the events, Babb said, “I think the response has been great. I think it’s a good way to remember what happened and a good way to keep your head straight.”

Bost agrees.

“I think it’s awesome that people want to show their Hokie pride by getting something permanent like a tattoo,” she said. “I can always look down at my tattoo and think about (and) remember how the community came together, and all the love and support people showed.”

Babb said a small black ribbon with the “VT” letters would cost about $50 to $60. Cost increases depending on size and color.


Comments (15)


I think this is so amazing! And these are two of my friends! We ARE Virginia Tech!

Lena Heflin | April 23, 2007 7:55 PM

no is 1 tatoot what will are chance head and mentallity of violence of yankees and forget this tragedy of gunman 2007,you are have chance style of life,no more agression,no more invasion others countries,no more gun!peace and love!

mimi,o petista | April 23, 2007 9:36 PM

What a wonderful way to show love and support. My prayers are with all of you.
Hailey , once more you have made me proud .
Love Aunt Betty

Betty Henderson | April 23, 2007 9:41 PM

Awesome tats girls!! I love how you got the VT in the neVerforgeT!! Nice job. I might just copy this one from you when I get my next one!!! If there's anymore pics of other VT tattoos, please post them here. I'd love to see them!! You all are still in my heart & prayers! Always!!!!

Wendy from Kentucky | April 24, 2007 12:12 AM

I got my memorial tattoo last night from Rondezvous. It's the black ribbon with VT as pictured above but bigger in size on my upper left arm.

Rob Nguyen | April 24, 2007 8:18 PM

i'm not going to lie, i find that super depressing.

?.? | April 25, 2007 12:18 AM

i think that what these young ladies, gentlemen, and rescue squad members did to remember their fallen comrades is a great idea!

steven | April 25, 2007 10:02 AM

i think that what these young ladies, gentlemen, and rescue squad members did to remember their fallen comrades is a great idea!

steven | April 25, 2007 10:02 AM

I find the shooting to be very hard to take but i'm managing to get throw everyday. And it's hard when you loss a family member to a shooting, I lost my step sister, Rebecca.

Haley Winterburn | April 25, 2007 12:13 PM

My school is remembering all who lost there lives but it's hard to take since so many were lost on that horible day. My hope be with all who lost someone.

Angel | April 25, 2007 12:15 PM

As a friend of one of the lost Hokies I want to say Thanks!!! We will never forget. GO HOKIES!!

Shauna | April 26, 2007 3:51 PM

Hi every friend of Virginia Tech.I am a collge Sophomore in chinese.I am so moved by all your kind! if this happened in china , this guy will never be forgived. and I hope there is no tragedy happen forever! at the same time,it's so cool ! I like it!

Beaman | April 28, 2007 9:15 PM

Showing support is just great.

Cankles | May 25, 2007 5:53 AM

Couldn't you get a better tattoo artist? His design is kinda rough. Nice toenail polish.

Muggles | June 8, 2007 2:53 AM

I just got a big maroon and orange VT logo tat on my left bicep. It is for support of all the people who suffered from this wrongful act. Now in Tucson, Arizona. Born and raised in Virginia. Deadchief BMW

Bruce Whitehouse | June 13, 2007 7:55 PM