Atlanta – Over the past several weeks we have received a ton of emails asking about Atlanta Falcons Linebacker Tyler Starr and the Medal of Honor tattoo on his right shoulder. We reached out to the Falcons via email and posed the question, although they didn’t respond to us directly they posted an article on their website about it. Seems they were also getting a lot of questions about it.
In the article, courtesy of Jay Adams from AtlantaFalcons.com,he says it is a memorial to his grandfather.
Growing up, Tyler Starr’s grandfather must have seemed 10 feet tall to him. It had nothing to do with physical stature. It was much more about what he had accomplished.
A Vietnam veteran and career military man, Starr’s grandfather, James D. Starr, served in the Marines and Air Force, eventually becoming intelligence personnel before he passed away on Nov. 11, 2001.
Tyler Starr found a way to memorialize the grandfather who was so important to him growing up by tattooing his own version of a military medal on his right arm.
“It’s different from the congressional medal of honor because it’s got a different amount of stars on it. The engraving — I switched it up a little bit so that way it’s not exactly like a medal of honor,” the Falcons rookie defensive end said. “I didn’t want to copy an exact medal from the military. I just kind of tweaked it. … It’s what I wanted to do remember him by.”
The tattoo serves as motivation for the Falcons’ seventh-round pick. As someone who holds the military in high esteem, Starr draws plenty of inspiration from the artwork on his right arm.
It also helps him recall special childhood memories of his grandfather, like Christmases when his family would pull out old movies of his grandfather from his visits to Air Force bases around the world.
Years after getting the tattoo, Starr is finding that the ink symbolizes and honors much more than just his grandfather.
Starr’s brother, Ben Starr, who turns 20 years old next month, will be leaving for Marine Corps boot camp in December.
“I have a lot of respect for the military,” Tyler Starr said. “My brother’s going in and I have some other friends in the military, so now I show my support for them (through the tattoo) because if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing today.”
The tattoo on Tyler’s arm is actually the Army version of the Medal of Honor, there are three versions, one for the Army, one for the Air Force and one for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Here is a closer look at the one on Tyler’s arm, we also checked the database and his grandfather was not a recipient of the Medal of Honor.
He also says in the article above, that he changed the design up, and that he has a different amount of stars than the Medal of Honor actually has. The Medal of Honor, all three versions have thirteen stars on them that represent the original thirteen colonies, I also count thirteen stars on Tyler’s tattoo.
When you compare the tattoo on Tyler’s arm to the official Army medal, I don’t see much difference.
I hope this answers all the questions everyone had about why he has the tattoo and what it represents to him. I know their will still be controversy as to whether he should have this tattoo or not, since he nor his grandfather earned it, but this is his official reasoning as to having the tattoo.