Gathering at Ft Snelling Honors the Fallen

For the third year in a row Pagans in the Twin Cities area gathered to honor all fallen Service Members and hold a special ritual for fallen Pagan Service Members.   There are now two headstones in the Ft. Snelling Cemetery that bear pentacles – one for Sgt. Jason Schumann and the other for Specialist Daniel Schrankler.

The Crego family place offerings during the Memorial Day observance

This year over 40 area Pagans attended the event, including entire families.  Tracy Jarvinen, one of the organizers for this memorial observance, said, “We honor all of the soldiers who have fought for our freedoms. We give special attention to Jason Schumann and Daniel Schrankler because as they had once fought for our freedoms, Joe and I, and many, many others helped fight for their freedom to be buried under the Pentacle. It is bringing things full circle.”

Just a few years ago, neither headstone could have legally been marked with a pentacle. The years long legal battle to force the VA to include the pentacle on its list of approved religious symbols is, as Dr Murphy Pizza describes it, “a bittersweet victory;  celebrating a hard-won right also brings with it the acknowledgment of the growing number of Pagan military folks and the sacrifices that they are making in order for this and other rights to be upheld.”

Headstone for Sgt. Jason Schumann

The Twin Cities Pagan community was active and engaged in the VA Pentacle Quest and continues to show fallen warriors honor each Memorial Day through offerings, words, and by comforting their family members in their time of grief.  That comfort can reach across long distances.  The mother of Sgt. Schumann sent this message,

Dear Tracy and Joe,

Thank you for honoring my son’s grave!  We moved last year to Indiana, and it breaks my heart I could not be there, but I am comforted knowing that he was surrounded by people to honor and remember him. 

Blessed Be )O(“

Each person in attendance left a flower or token at the headstones of Jason Schumann and Daniel Schrankler. The Honor Guard created the sacred space for all to honor. An attendee who is a Vietnam Veteran read the poem, credited to General George S Patton Jr :

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In Memoriam

This famous speech was given by the Athenian leader Pericles after the first battles of the Peloponnesian war, but he could easily be talking about the United States and our war dead. Pericles gave this speech to honor the dead of his time and to extol the virtues of his city and its people. PNC publishes it today to honor our dead and extol the virtues of our country and our people.

Hail the Honored Dead!

“Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighboring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration favors the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition. The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbor for doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be offensive, although they inflict no positive penalty. But all this ease in our private relations does not make us lawless as citizens. Against this fear is our chief safeguard, teaching us to obey the magistrates and the laws, particularly such as regard the protection of the injured, whether they are actually on the statute book, or belong to that code which, although unwritten, yet cannot be broken without acknowledged disgrace.

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