He wanted the Pentacle as an emblem of faith on his military headstone. But the Department of Veteran Affairs would not approve the symbol.
This controversy brought attention to a battle that had been raging for over ten years. That's how long Wiccan and Pagan groups had been applying to get the Pentacle approved, they were not denied, rather they were delayed with red tape explanations about how the whole application process was being restructure and no emblems were being approved until the process was complete.
Meanwhile, a bunch of other emblems were approved, including the the Atheist, Humanist, a Buddhist symbol, several versions of the cross and some others. In a future post I will share some of my experiences of providing minority faith religious service while in the Army. Good times.
So, Selina Fox of Circle Sanctuary and many others started the pentacle quest campaign. Thanks to the perseverance of Sgt. Patrick Stewart's wife and countless others, we finally won. In 2007 the Department of Veterans Affairs finally approved the Pentacle as an emblem of faith that can be placed on headstones and grave markers the VA issues to honor deceased veterans.
I am a proud member of the Order of the Pentacle which is a veterans association of Wiccans and other Pagans who served in the US Armed Forces and who use the Pentacle as their emblem of faith.
The Order of the Pentacle was established on Veterans Day, November 11, 2006 to support equal rights for Wiccan/Pagan troops and veterans. i am proud to say I was one of the first members. And hope someday to receive my own Wiccan medal of honor. Maybe get pinned by Selena or Mrs Stewart.
Today is the third anniversary of the death of Sgt. Private ceremonies of remembrance were held today across the country. I ask you to take part in your own way by dressing a candle for him and all my brothers and sisters in uniform.
I don't support the wars, but I support the troops, and if you can't stand behind your troops, I invite you to stand in front of them.
Peace by force, Sgt. Nichter, out.
P.S. Those are my dog tags in the picture, they carry my name, social, blood type and religion, which says "other" because I can fight and die for my country, but my religion was not "a real religion". I keep them safe, because someday I will be able to show my grand kids and tell them how it "was" for us way back now.