From Circle Sanctuary: Veteran Pentacle Grave Markers across the USA
The following was distributed by Circle Sanctuary. I didn't write it. --MS
One year ago today, US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)-issued veteran grave markers with Pentacles were dedicated in a public ceremony at Circle Cemetery, a national Pagan cemetery, located in the heart of Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve near Barneveld, Wisconsin.
In observance of Memorial Day this year, we are releasing information about Pentacle veteran grave markers the VA has issued in the past year since the Veteran Pentacle Quest victory.
This news was compiled from Freedom of Information Act documents obtained from the VA by Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary just prior to Beltane, May 1, 2008. The following is excerpted and adapted from her report, which will be published in the next issue of CIRCLE magazine, which goes to press in early June.
VETERAN PENTACLE GRAVE MARKERS ACROSS THE USA
In the year since adding the Pentacle to its list of emblems, the VA hasissued 26 veteran grave markers with Pentacles. Two dozen are fordeceased veterans, and of these, one is for a veteran and his wife. The other two markers are interfaith with the Pentacle signifying the Wiccan faith of wives buried with their veteran husbands in federal cemeteries.
SERVICE: Wiccan and Pagan veterans honored by Pentacle grave markersinclude those who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.Their combined range of service has spanned seven decades. The majorityof the markers are for war veterans, including two who served in World WarII, three who served in the Korean War, and seven who served in theVietnam War.
WAR DEATHS: Some of the markers are for those who have died in 21stcentury wars. In addition to Sgt. Stewart, a Desert Storm veteran who waskilled in action in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and whosewidow, Roberta Stewart, spoke out publicly as part of the Veteran Pentacle Quest, there are markers for six troops who were killed in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and another for a soldier who had served both in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and who died of war-related injuries after returning home.
CEMETERIES: The 26 Pentacle markers are in 17 cemeteries across the UnitedStates. 16 of the markers are in national cemeteries, five of which are in Arlington National Cemetery. One is in a state veterans cemetery. Nine are in private cemeteries, four of which are at Circle Cemetery in Wisconsin.
STATES: There are VA-issued Pentacle markers in 14 states: California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
On this Memorial Day, we honor the lives and service of Wiccan and other Pagan veterans who have died.
We give thanks for the Pentacle markers that have been issued by the VA thus far.
And, we send out the wish that the VA will finally finish revising its protocols and procedures for adding additional emblems of belief to its list of those it will include on the veteran grave markers it issues so that symbols of other branches of Paganism can be included as well as symbols of other religions.
Liberty and Justice for All.
Circle Times: Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, 2008