I stumbled accross this interesting article about religious symbolism and the struggle of certain religious groups to have their symbols placed upon the headstones of fallen US warriors.
THOR’S HAMMER, MJÖLNIR, IS A WEAPON OF HONOR AND VIRTUE, MAKING IT AN APPEALING ICON FOR AMERICAN SOLDIERS. BUT ITS PATH TO BECOMING AN ACCEPTABLE HEADSTONE SYMBOL WAS ANYTHING BUT EASY.
You’re probably already familiar with Thor, Marvel Comics’ weird pagan analog to D.C. Comics’ alien-born super messiah, the Man of Steel. As portrayed by Chris Hemsworth in the Thor and Avengers movies, Thor is a flagon of mead by day, bevy of wenches by night kind of guy--the sort of god whose love for ribald drunkenness is matched only by his love for cratering a frost giant’s face with his mystical hammer, Mjölnir.
In the comics, Mjölnir has many magic properties. It can be hurled incredible distances and then boomerang back into Thor’s hand. Thor can fly when holding it just by throwing it as hard as he can without letting go of the handle. It can control all the powers of a storm, including rain, thunder, and lightning. Upon the side of Mjölnir is an inscription: "Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor."
The key word there is "worth." Mjölnir is a weapon of honor and virtue, and a fitting symbol for any noble warrior. So it’s appropriate that American soldiers can now request the symbol for Thor’s Hammer be placed on their headstone if they die in the line of duty. But Mjölnir’s path toward becoming an acceptable headstone option wasn’t easy. It practically took the power of Thor to get it there.
As they say, read the whole thing. There are many, many ways that warriors view themselves spiritually, and some don't believe at all. It's not surprising, however, that some would gravitate towards an Odinist concept of spirituality, and I imagine that view of the afterlife, especially for one who dies in battle, is particularly moving to them. It's good to see the government and the Department of Veteran's Affairs removing themselves from defining what is and is not an acceptable religion.