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Slain soldier gets Wiccan symbol

December 03, 2006|From the Associated Press

RENO — After fighting the federal government for more than a year, on Saturday the widow of a soldier killed in Afghanistan got to see the Wiccan symbol placed on his memorial plaque.

More than 50 friends and family of Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart gathered to dedicate the plaque at Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley, about 35 miles east of Reno.

Stewart's widow, Roberta, and Wiccan leaders said it was the first government-issued memorial plaque with a Wiccan pentacle -- a five-pointed star enclosed in a circle.

They praised Gov. Kenny Guinn for his role in getting the Nevada Office of Veterans Services to issue the plaque.

But they criticized the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which recognizes more than 30 symbols, but not the pentacle. VA officials have said they are rewriting rules for approving emblems.

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