How Thor’s Hammer Made Its Way Onto Soldiers’ Headstones

To summarise, Thor’s hammer represents heroism, nobility, self-reliance, and honour. It’s a symbol with a history that extends back a thousand years to pre-Christian Europe. And adherents of Odinism, the religion that Thor’s hammer represents, tend to make natural soldiers. Oh, and it also shares a pretty strong cultural heritage with a superhero who is, in his own weird, Technicolor, space viking way, as American as apple pie. How strange would it be, then, if the US Department of Veterans Affairs — the organisation that oversees cemeteries dedicated to US veterans and ultimately says which symbols can be used therein to represent your religious faith — had a problem with Thor’s hammer?

But for decades, the VA did have a problem with Thor’s hammer. Not so much for what Mjölnir stood for but because it was a pagan symbol, and pagan symbols were verboten.

If you look at all the symbols the Department of Veterans Affairs have approved for use on headstones over the years, pagan symbols were really the final frontier, Pitzl-Waters says. Hinduism, Humanists, Atheists, all these other symbols had been approved. But there wasn’t a single pagan symbol on the approved list — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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