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.
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.”
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 :