The VA says no to pentagram on grave marker

The federal Department of Veterans Affairs apparently does not recognize the Wicca religion.

Check out this interesting “article”:http://www.kccommunitynews.com/articles/2007/03/22/northeast_johnson_county_sun/news/all_news032207a.txt from the Kansas City Community News about a woman whose husband was killed in Afghanistan in 2005 and wants a symbol of Wicca — his faith — on his grave marker.

But the symbol, a pentagram, is not among 38 symbols of faith approved by the VA.

A Wiccan priestess who officiated at the memorial service for Army Sgt. Patrick Dana Stewart, whose helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, told the newspaper that:

“The Department of Defense will allow soldiers to have the (pentagram) on their dog tags and Wicca ceremonies on military installations, that’s no problem. But the VA won’t allow people to have the symbol of their faith on a grave marker.â€?

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.