There are so many to honor, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their families, lands, and Gods. I personally will fill my horn many times toasting those who fought with Arminius, Beowulf, Vagn, Halvdan, Rorik, Jarl Haakon, etc..... Unlike some in our religion I also will raise my horn in honor of those who became Christians but who still fought for their country, my ancestors lands, and whose blood is the same as mine. Religion does not make a warrior, it is the individual who makes himself into a warrior, and his deeds should be honored, even if they do not sit with Odin in the Halls of Valhalla. Those who fought for Scandinavia, and Norway in particular, will always be honored by me. These include such people as Gustavus Adolphus the great general of the 30 years war, and the father of modern warfare, ( That is what the historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge called him ), Peter Wessel, the great Norwegian/ Danish captain who fought in the 10 year Baltic War, and all the unsung heroes who fought in Denmark, Finland, and of course Norway, against the Nazis in World War II. Many of these individuals fought as part of the underground movement in the Scandinavian countries, and some perished in the Nazi concentration camps trying to rid their lands of the Nazi menace.
I actually hold five different segments of the Warrior's ritual. First I honor those great warriors of ancient times who fought during the great Viking Age, mainly in hand to hand combat, who were slain. Then I move on to the more modern times and honor those who fought during the Medieval Period through World War II. My third, ritual within a ritual, is to honor those who died in Modern Wars, including wars still raging to this day. I hold a special ritual at my ancestor' s altar, for those who served in wars from my own family. They include John B. Bergen, who fought with the Middlesex County Militia, in the Revolutionary War; Jacob Isaac Bergen who was in the Middlesex County Militia during the War of 1812; and my father Charles who was a part of the Korean War. I also honor my mother's father, also Charles, who served in the First World War in the Merchant Marines. Finally I honor the Einherjar who hone their skills everyday in the Halls of Valhalla. For it is they who have already given the ultimate sacrifice, but will one day be asked once again to give up their life / afterlife to defend all that exists. It is their final sacrifice that will allow Lif and Lifthrasir, and the remaining Gods and Goddesses to rebuild the nine worlds.
Besides the rituals I go to visit the graves of John B. Bergen, whose grave always has an American flag on it from either the S. A. R. or the D. A. R. I leave flowers and a blessing in honor of what he did during the War for Independence. Though he was not killed in battle he was, according to one account, wounded at the Battle of Princeton. I also visit the Revolutionary War Memorial which has all seventy some individuals who fought from Cranbury, N. J. carved on it. I am very proud of him ! Despite having a wife, and several children, he still took up arms to defend his country and the way of life that he wanted to pass on to his children. There is no telling what level of freedoms we would have here in America if these brave men did not take up arms against tyranny,and we had never broken with Great Britain. And the thought of being under the Church of England.... well lets not even go there because that is not the way it turned out.
I know that everyone here in the U.S. likes to go down the shore, up to the mountains, or have a huge barbeque with friends and family, and that is fine. But let us not forget those who allow you the freedoms that you cherish so much, or those of our ancestors who fought for their / our Gods, folk and country. Save some time to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us, past and present . Let us honor those who have honored us !
Raise your horn in solemn respect and honor for those who have passed on to Valhalla !
All Hail the Ancient Warrior !
All Hail the Medieval Warrior !
All Hail the Modern Warrior !
All Hail the Einherjar !
All Hail Great Odin !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !