Druid Veteran Headstone Project
Project POC: Tony Taylor
The Druid Veteran Headstone Project supports Druid Veterans in their fight to have a choice of their headstone emblem. Currently there are 39 emblems of belief that are authorized for use on veteran headstones. There was a movement in the Wiccan community to have the pentacle added as an emblem of faith and that was successful in April of 2007 (see: Available Emblems). Because the pentacle is not considered an emblem of faith for most Druids, the Henge is working with other Druid Organizations to have the Awen symbol used as a symbol of Druid faith. This project describes some of the activities The Henge has taken and what individual members may do.
There have not been any known successes on having a Druid headstone placed on a veterans grave. The lastest position of the VA (Fall 2005) is that they cannot accept a new headstone symbol until a veteran actually dies and their next of kin or designated representative sends the following materials:
1) A written request or completed VA form 40-1330 from the next of kin or authorized representative.
2) A letter signed by the recognized central head or primary contact person for the sponsoring organization certifying that; the emblem is currently widely used and recognized as the symbol of the organization or its belief system, the sponsoring organization supports addition of the emblem to the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) list of emblems of belief and, the sponsoring organization does not promote activity that is illegal or "contrary to public policy"
This letter (Dated April 10th, 2006) from the President of the Henge of Keltria to the National Cemetery Administration should fulfill that requirement. Also see the Dept. of Veterans Affairs response dated December 5th, 2006.)
3) A written description of: its organizational practices (such as regular services, ceremonial functions, existence of clergy, efforts at propagation, observance of holidays, or other characteristics of a traditional belief system)
We believe that the, The Book of Keltria: Druidism for the 21st Century as well as the Henge of Keltria Book of Ritual provide all the information that is needed. However, the no-charge, abbreviated white paper called The Henge of Keltria Beliefs, Organization, Practices, and Clergy should provide adequate documentation. As a minimum, include the white paper with your submission to the NCA.
4) Information about the size and organizational structure of the organization.
The Henge of Keltria By-Laws provide the organization structure of the Henge. The size of the organization, as of Dec 2005, is approximately 200 members. Local congregations may be seen on our Contact Us - Chartered Groves and Study Groups page. Send a copy of the By-laws and the Chartered Groves as a minimum.
5) A 3-
inch circular digitized black and white representation of the requested emblem that can be reproduced in a production line environment in stone or bronze without loss of graphic quality, and is free of copyright restrictions.
6) A call to action for veterans to make their desires known by their next of kin was added in May 2008.
If you are a member of the Henge and have need for additional documentation to support arequest for approval, we have a package that may be send to you electronically or via US Mail that contains the above items plus copies of the following:
- Original Letter of support for the use of the Awen symbol by the Henge of Keltria dated October 15, 2004 signed by President C. Leigh McGinley..
- Initial Letter of support for the use of the Awen symbol by the Ancient Order of Druids in America dated October 18, 2004, signed by Archdruid John Michael Greer.
- Letter of support for the use of the Awen symbol by Order of the White Oak (Ord na Darach Gile) dated October 25, 2004.
- Letter of support for the use of the Awen symbol by Ár nDraíocht Féin dated November 17, 2004, signed by Scribe Carlynne Deaver.
- Letter of support for the use of the Awen symbol by Ord na Darach Gile (Order of the White Oak) dated December 27, 2004, signed by Druid Priestess Ellen Evert Hopman.
- Letter of support for the use of the Awen symbol by Reformed Druids of North America dated January 21, 2005, signed by Archdruid Michael James Sharding.
- Letter of support for the use of the Awen symbol by the Ancient Order of Druids in America dated December 4, 2005, signed by Archdruid John Michael Greer.
- Letter of support for the use of the Awen symbol by Ár nDraíocht Féin dated January 9, 2006, signed by Archdruid Robert Ellison.
- The Dept. of Veterans Affairs response to the Henge of Keltria, dated December 5th, 2006.
The package may also be sent to non-members for a small fee. Please contact the Henge Office for details.