Everett man’s face a portrait of patriotism

Sam Bloomfield presses his hands together and casts his eyes skyward in thanks for his country.

Under his left eye: “God Bless America.”

Under his right: “Land of the Free.”

Even larger across his forehead is “USA.”

He wants people to read the words inked into his skin and think about them, a walking testament to free speech. They are saturated with a love for his adopted country that he has carried for decades.

At Bloomfield’s house, it’s always the Fourth of July.

He grew up poor in an island hut on Tonga, where they see the sunrise before the rest of the world. He stowed away on a boat from American Samoa to California, and later got his green card in 1976.

He was drawn by stories of opportunity and images of money as abundant as suburban grass clippings.

But it takes hard work to live here, he says, and that’s a lesson he shares with his children and grandchildren. He spends his days cutting and packaging crab and salmon at a seafood warehouse.

He pumps iron every other day, his 58-year-old body a carefully maintained canvas filled with provocative words, phrases and pictures.

To share his love of country, he first painted his house red and white, and later added a blue shingle roof. Streamers and little flags are everywhere.

When a flag fades, he replaces it. When neighborhood kids yank off his patriotic holiday lights, he restrings them.

Bloomfield searched to find a tattoo artist who would help him fulfill his dream of a tribute to the American flag he could see each morning in the mirror.

Last year, he began a three-month transformation of his face.

It hurt.

He held still for two hours at a time as the tattoo grew. First the blue field and stars. Then came the red stripes. Fifteen hours, $1,500.

In his mind, through the pain, he said “Thank you God. I want the American flag on my face.”

Sometimes the sight of the tattoo shocks people. Others are quick to cheer their approval. His wide and honest grin bears no intended insult to the honor of the flag.

“I want the whole world to see it.”

Head to toe, Bloomfield has more than 100 tattoos, including the flags of 20 countries. Most were done by hand by his wife of 17 years, Dora. On his spine is a familiar yellow ribbon: “Support Our Troops.”

He recently wrote President Bush, thanking him for his economic stimulus check, but also asking how the government might help keep people from losing their homes during these tough times.

When people complain about feeling poor, Bloomfield says the government has food and shelter for those in need. He remembers the hut in Tonga and said he knows real poverty. He’s proud to work to pay his bills.

If the president asked him to fight in Iraq, he would. Some in the world don’t like Americans, but that’s the way life is, he says.

“Who cares? America is the best country in the world! America is like a police officer, stepping in to make others shake hands. We don’t sit down and watch people die. America steps in there to help.”

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

HRT Rescue Technician Andy Toyota gives the thumbs-up to crew members in the Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue helicopter shortly before takeoff during an interagency training session held by Northwest Regional Aviation on Thursday, June 13, 2024, at the Arlington Airport in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
From around state, authorities simulate ‘terrorist attack’ in Arlington

Teams from King County, Snohomish County and elsewhere converged for a multi-faceted scenario Thursday at the Arlington Municipal Airport.

Two couples walk along Hewitt Avenue around lunchtime on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett businesses say it’s time the city had its own Chamber of Commerce

The state’s seventh-largest city hasn’t had a chamber since 2011. After 13 years, businesses are rallying for its return.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

Marysville
5 Snohomish County sisters accused of $1M fraud scheme

For two years, the women used online return postage to get gift cards, then returning the physical items to a brick-and-mortar store, charges say.

FILE — Michael Whitaker, Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, testifies before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Feb. 6, 2024. Whitaker told a Senate panel, on Thursday, June 13, 2024, that changes are being made to the agency’s oversight of Boeing, including conducting more safety inspections. (Anna Rose Layden/The New York Times)
Boeing discloses new quality problem on 787 Dreamliner jets

The issue affects jets built in South Carolina that have yet to be delivered, the company said in a statement.

Alvin Cooper (Photo provided by Marysville School District)
After allegations, Marysville schools’ HR director resigns

Last week, the district’s finance director Lisa Gonzales publicly called for the school board to put Alvin Cooper on leave, citing mismanagement.

Leslie Davis, left, and Lyndsay Lamb, twin sister stars of HGTV's "Unsellable Houses" and 2004 Snohomish High School graduates, donated a private design session to the school's auction fundraiser for their 20-year reunion. (Photo provided)
Got $2,000? Bid on face time with HGTV’s ‘Unsellable Houses’ twins

The sisters are offering up themselves in a fundraiser for their Class of 2004 Snohomish High 20-year reunion.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.