The other day word got out that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs had approved the use of Thor’s Hammer as an Emblem of Faith for headstones and markers. Earlier today several blogs, mine included, were contacted by a member of the Odinic Rite who was a friend of the fallen serviceman. Out of respect for him and his family, certain details are being withheld to ensure their privacy. Here is the email I received:
Due to a number of inquires regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs approval of the Mjölnir – Hammer of Thor Emblem as one of the “Available Emblems of Belief for Placement on Government Headstones and Markers” I have decided to write the following statement to try and answer everyone’s questions.
Please note, that at the request of the Departed’s Family, I am withholding the last name and location of the grave markersThe departed’s name is Shane, he was an Odinist and a Sargent in the United States Marine Corp. He was a Loyal Brother and Comrade to me personally for many years here in Midgard and although not a member of the OR, he was close with members of The Northern Winds Hearth and joined us in Blot and Sumbel on many occasions. Shane had passed from Midgard in August of 2012. After his Bael and Burial Ceremonies were held, I discussed with his Mother about the gravestone marker Emblems and how the Mjölnir – Hammer of Thor Emblem was not on the approved list with the VA, even with the previous efforts made by others to get approved. It was then that her quest began to submit a request to the VA to get the Mjölnir – Hammer of Thor Emblem approved. She had written a lengthy heart felt letter to the VA with the request for the approval so her son may have an Emblem of Faith representative of his Beliefs on his gravestone. At this time she also requested that her Husband Mark’s headstone also bear the same Emblem for he practiced and lived by the same core teachings and virtues of Odinism, as their Son did. The VA required that she submit: (1) A three-inch diameter digitized black and white representation; (2) Free of copyright or trademark restrictions, or authorized by the owner for use and publication on the list of publicly available emblems; and (3) Reproducible in a production-line environment in stone or bronze without loss of graphic quality. At that time I enlisted the assistance of Comrades within the OR who were more then willing to assist her with this request. After the VA accepted the image that was provided the waiting game began. She had made countless phone calls and sent numerous e-mails regarding the status of the request. Finally after all of her tireless efforts she received a letter from the VA dated May 2, 2013 advising her of the approval and that both Shane and Mark’s headstones that currently do not have any Emblem of Faith on them, would be replaced with new headstones inscribed with the Mjölnir – Hammer of Thor Emblem.
Although it is with sadness and a heavy heart that this came about, a great step forward has taken place for the Odinist and Asatru communities. From our loss a Great Victory has arisen that will positively affect us all for generations to come!
Hail to the Fallen, Hail Shane and Mark!
Hail to Shane’s Mother for Her Dedication and Perseverance!
Hail to all of Our Service Men and Women! Past, Present, and Future!
Haakon “Hawk” AOR
Guardian of The Northern Winds Hearth, AOR
I’d like to express my thanks to Hawk of the Odinic Rite for this information. This family has done a great service, and paid a high price, so that future soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines do not have to fight this battle for recognition in the future. Memorial Day is Monday, May 27th in America. It is a day to remember all of our fallen. I strongly encourage you to remember the service of these men this year when you raise a toast and hail the glorious names of the einherjar.