Sgt. Patrick Stewart fought for the United States in Afghanistan and died doing it, yet the U.S. government didn't grant him the same religious freedom he was fighting to uphold.
This member of the Nevada Air National Guard was shot down in his Chinook helicopter September 25, 2005. Ever since, his gravesite has been marked with a plain old rock and a few small American flags. His wife says that's because the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs refused to recognize their religion and allow them to express their faith in a military cemetery.
The Stewarts practiced Wicca, a pre-Christian religion wrongly criticized as being associated with devil worship. Wiccans don't pray to God in the traditional sense. Instead, they believe in a "great oneness," and see themselves as part of the circle of nature.
Earlier this week, the VA announced that as part of a settlement of a lawsuit, it will allow 11 families to display the Wicca pentacle, a religious symbol whose five points represent earth, air, fire, water and spirit, at their gravesites. The pentacle will be provided by the military.
So why did it take 10 years to settle this dispute with these families? Sgt. Stewart's widow, Roberta Stewart, believes Wiccans are victims of religious discrimination.
"My husband is a military man. To deny him the rights he fought and died for breaks my heart," she told me.
The Pentagon estimates there are more than 1,800 Wiccans serving in the military. In the Air Force, there are nearly three times as many Wiccans as Muslims.
This case raises some interesting questions: Do you think it took too long for the military and the VA to agree to place the Wiccan pentacle on gravesites? Should service members and their families have complete control over which symbols are displayed on their gravesite? Or is it important for the VA to maintain some restrictions on religious symbols?
-- By Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent