This campaign started when in 1989 Rosemary Kooiman, wife of Abe Kooiman (who passed away in 2002), submitted a request for her now deceased husband, a veteran. She was unable to obtain a headstone with a Pentagram on it...the symbol of her and Abe's religion. For the over 10 years, she has been getting the response that the Veteran's Administration was updating its regulations on religious symbols and that once that was done, the symbol would get approved. Over ten years later, there have been no rules changes and no pentagrams approved... and we keep getting the same answers.Why the Veteran Affairs Should Approve the Wiccan Pentacle
On August 27, 1997, the Aquarian Tabernacle Churches Archpriest, Pete Davis, sent the first application to the Veteran Affairs. The application was to obtain the approval of "the Wiccan Pentacle [to be] among the emblems of belief that may be engraved on government issued headstones and markers of deceased veterans" (Egbert par. 1). Since 1997, Wiccans have not yet been approved nor denied (par. 2). As a result, Wiccans in the past have not been able to appeal to the courts about a decision because the Veteran Affairs has not made a final decision regarding the approval of the pentacle as the emblem representing Wiccan faith (par. 21). Wiccans want the pentacle to be "recognized in death just as the VA recognizes the faith preferences of other veterans" (par. 2). This is a problem that needs to be resolved immediately!
In addition to adding the Pentacle to the VA's approved list, VA agreed to grant the individual requests (and the other pending individual requests) for specific headstones/markers. The agreement (dated April 20, 2007) states:Dedication Ceremony for SGT Patrick Stewart
Within 14 days from the execution of this Stipulation, VA will provide a headstone, marker, or memorial plaque (of a type suitable for placement in the relevant cemetery) inscribed with a Pentacle for Sgt. Patrick Stewart, PFC Jerome Birnbaum, PFC James Price, Abraham and Rosemary Kooiman and any other eligible individuals who have submitted complete applications for Pentacle-inscribed headstones, markers, or memorial plaques, and who have been identified before the execution of this Stipulation. VA will coordinate with the Department of the Army, which controls Arlington National Cemetery, to promptly order headstones, markers, or memorial plaques inscribed with a Pentacle for Abraham and Rosemary Kooiman and for any other eligible individuals who have submitted complete applications for Pentacle-inscribed headstones, markers, or memorial plaques, and who have been identified before the execution of this Stipulation.
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