Arlington National Cemetery (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)
Hyperallergic: The 65 Symbols on US Military Tombstones
While American military cemeteries may look uniform with their rows of cross-adorned tombs, look closer and you’ll find Wiccan Pentacles, Atheist Atoms, and the Hammer of Thor.
On today’s Memorial Day in the United States, the tombstones honoring those who died while in the military service will be decorated with flags throughout the country, particularly in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Although the lines of marble and granite headstones appear uniform, overwhelmingly carved with Christian crosses, look closer and you might spot an atomic whirl circling an “A” for atheist, an infinity symbol, or a Shinto torii gate. In recent years, the freedom of religious expression for soldiers and their families in choosing an “emblem of belief” for their monuments has majorly expanded, but not without some lawsuits.
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WNU Editor: The complete list of symbols permitted are here.