What’s the story behind military headstones?
Headstones for fallen US soldiers are easy to spot since military specifications require them to be white marble slabs standing 42″ tall and 13″ wide. While combing through cemetery photos to include in this post, however, I came across the headstone for Douglas the Confederate camel, and since I love all things quirky, I could not resist using it for this A to Z post.
“Old Douglas,” as he was fondly known, served with the 43rd Mississippi Infantry during the United States Civil War. The dromedary remained the soldiers’ beloved mascot for many years, and he helped out by carrying their gear. Although the soldiers allowed him to roam freely, Douglas never wandered far.
Sadly, a Yankee sniper shot and killed Douglas during the lengthy seige of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Poor Douglas! For more about this kindly camel, visit: Douglas the Camel on Find-a-Grave.
Most military markers include a symbol above the soldier’s name to represent his or her religious faith. It’s common, then, to see either a cross or a Star of David at the top of a military marker. To see a full list of available “Emblems of Belief” as the military calls them check out this link: US Dept of Veteran Affairs: Emblems of Belief
Did you notice that the US military now offers the “Hammer of Thor” as a religious icon? (It’s item #55, in case you missed it!) And yes, the Hammer of Thor is for those who identify as Odinists to use (and, perhaps, those who spend all their free time at the comic book store!)
Thor’s Hammer has only been approved for use on military headstones since 2013. For the full story, check out: A Modern Pagan Perspective: Thor’s Hammer
I was also surprised to see that they have a nifty symbol for atheists to use (item #16.)
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What is the April A to Z Blog Challenge?
Each April, people from all over the world participate in the April A to Z blog challenge, and you can too. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great way to meet other bloggers. To play along, all you do is make a blog post for each letter of the alphabet during April, then use the blog hop linky to visit as many other bloggers as you can.