It’s about time that the military recognized that service members come from all faiths (and non-faiths) – not just Judeo-Christian! In 2007, the Bush Administration finally allowed the Wiccan pentagram – a five-pointed star inside a circle on the gravestones of Wiccan military members in Arlington Cemetery and other military burial grounds.
Last week, the VA approved Thor’s hammer as one of 56 emblems troops can request to have placed on their headstones.
While some only know of Thor as a comic book hero, he actually dates back to Norse mythology. Thor used his magical hammer to protect humans and other gods from giants.
But today, that hammer means something special to those who practice Ásatrú and worship the Norse Gods. And as NPR’s “The World” reported last week, those who identify as such and served in the military now have the option of marking their gravestone with Thor’s hammer.
I had an instructor at the Primary Leadership Development Course (Today it’s called WLC – Warrior Leader Course) back in 2005, who practiced Ásatrú. He was one of the best NCOs I have ever met! Not only was he incredibly bright, but he was also a killer on the land nav course, and could kick some serious ass!
We’ve come a long way from those days when people who put “Pagan” on their ID tags were regarded with a certain amount of disgust. I’ve seen it. A female in my basic training platoon requested “Pagan” on her ID tags and received an “Ummm… OK” sideways look.
During a readiness exercise right before my last deployment, one of the trainers proudly informed me that he was a Satanist, and showed me his ID tags. I think he was hoping to freak me out. It did not work.
Look, as far as I’m concerned, if you can shoot straight and I can rely on you to have my back, it doesn’t matter if you worship Jesus, Allah, Thor, Snoopy or the Great Pumpkin! I’m just glad those of different faiths are being recognized for their ultimate sacrifice.