Honoring Our Pagan Fallen on Memorial Day

Honoring Our Pagan Fallen on Memorial Day May 28, 2012

In America, today is Memorial Day, a federal holiday that recognizes those who have died in the service of our military forces. For decades modern Pagan military personnel have worked to see that their contributions and sacrifices were given equal honor and recognition. Today, Pagan involvement in our armed forces is at a level of visibility and acceptance never before imagined, though with that recognition comes new challenges. While we work to continue our advances, let’s take a moment to recognize the fallen.

Marker for Sgt. Patrick Stewart.

Circle Sanctuary is compiling a list of Pagan military who have died in the line of duty.

AFGHANISTAN: Operation Enduring Freedom

Sgt. Patrick Dana Stewart of Fernley, Nevada.
Nevada Army National Guard. Killed in action, died September 25, 2005, age 34.
Cremains scattered September 25, 2006, Nevada Highlands, Nevada.
Some cremains buried May 28, 2007, Circle Cemetery, near Barneveld, Wisconsin.

IRAQ: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Spc. James W. Price of Cleveland, Tennessee.
US Army. Killed in action, died September 18, 2004, age 22.
Buried in Sunset Memorial Gardens, Cleveland, Tennessee.

Pfc. Stephen P. Snowberger, III of Lopez, Pennsylvania.
US Army. Killed in action, died May 11, 2006, age 18.
Buried in Brown Family Cemetery, Lexington, North Carolina.

Sgt. Jason Alan Schumann of Hawley, Minnesota.
US Army. Killed in action, died May 19, 2007, age 23.
Buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Spc. Charles Thomas Heinlein, Jr. of Hemlock, Michigan.
US Army. Killed in action, died July 31, 2007, age 23.
Buried in Section 60, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

Pfc. Juctin R. P. McDaniel of Andover, New Hampshire.
US Army. Died December 17, 2007, age 19.
Buried in New Hampshire State Cemetery, New Hampshire.

Sgt. Michael Bramer of Fayetteville, North Carolina.
US Army (2001-2006). Severe head injuries in combat in October, 2003.
Died in California of injuries on January 17, 2007, age 23.
Buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Bath, Maine.

The modern military experience can also be a modern Pagan experience, those who are wounded and die in our country’s service aren’t an anonymous “other” removed from our experiences, but us. We here at The Wild Hunt give honor to all our Pagan brothers and sisters who have served, are serving, and have fallen in the line of duty. Please feel free to link or post any observances, tributes, thoughts, or remembrances you think appropriate on this day.

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10 responses to “Honoring Our Pagan Fallen on Memorial Day”

  1. Thank you for this post, Jason.  I think it’s so important we remember our fallen soldiers, as well as those who still serve.  I have so many Pagan friends in the military who suffer PTSD from deployments overseas, and they’ve lost so much-friends/fellow soldiers, time with family, and so much more.  May the gods bless and keep all those who currently serve, and may the friends and families of the fallen be given peace, honor, and comfort knowing the bravery of these individuals was not in vain.

  2. I wrote this as an offering for a Remembrance Day/Samhain ritual honouring the Fallen and thought I would share it here as a tribute to those followers of the pagan faiths who have fought for freedom.

    Know this – I died for you

    Whether I rest ‘neath the poppies of Flanders Fields,
    Or in an Unknown Soldier’s grave;
    If my bones are dust under Marathon’s plain
    Or I lie below Acteon’s waves
    Know this – I died for you

    If I fought with shield and blooded spear
    Or with the cannon’s mighty roar
    If stalked through burning jungles growth
    Or on jet-wings fiercely soared
    Know this – I fought for you

    Whether it was freedom we were fighting for
    Or land or goods or love
    My opponents were as flesh as I
    Made of bone and breath and Blood
    Know this – I took life for you

    When war is fought and blood is shed
    It is no ones victory
    But we must protect all that we love
    Safeguard home and family
    And I would die again for you
    You need not know why I fought
    Or where from which I came
    You needn’t know how I died  
    Or even know my name
         But remember what I gave for you

    I traded in my dreams for death
    Left behind husband, child, wife
    In order to uphold your chance
    To live a free and peaceful life
                Be worthy of what I gave for you

    It is up to you now to hold the watch
    To wage war against tyranny
    Weather with weapons or words or protest
    You must struggle to remain free
    Do not give up what I won for you

  3. Every year on Memorial Day I read Pericles oration given in honor of the Athenian dead after the first battles in the Peloponnesian war.  Not only is a very moving tribute to those who died in battle, it’s also a statement on the value of democracy.  The sentiments expressed show viscerally the USA was founded not on Christian principles, but on pagan Athens and Rome.   On a more personal note – this is the date I celebrate the Genesios.  The Genisia started as a household observance in Athens – a day to honor the dead in your family line and visit their graves.  This would limit miasma incurred by visiting graves sites to one day a year (unless someone died in your family that year).  It later became a state occasion to honor the dead killed in battle, but the household observances continued.

    Today I make offerings to Columbia Eleutheria for all those who died in service to our country and pray for all those currently serving.  I also make offerings for my ancestors.  We make dishes that have been passed down in our family.  I’m not near enough any of the graves and that is a burden, but I arrange for flowers to placed at their sites.

  4. Hail to these brave men and women–who have fought, fell, bled and shed their blood, sweat, tears for the Truth of the on-going Grand Experiment of Liberty.  May they all know solace, healing, & love–every service of sacrifice.  Know that you are loved, recognized, and remembered.  You are the truest Keepers of Courage well can aspire to be.

    May Brigit’s Green Mantle enfold each and every one of you, Brave Warriors!

  5. Wow. It gave me such a sense of joy to see a pentacle on a military headstone. It is odd to say such a thing since that means a pagan brother is now dead, but at least he is honored the way he wanted. Thank you to all those who worked so hard to make that a reality!

  6. This past Memorial Day, my wife, myself and a gathering of others made our regular visit to Arlington National Cemetery to honor and decorate the five markers there with Pentacles.  Blessed be to our honored dead.  May they be remembered.