Friday, January 23, 2015
COINS LEFT ON A MILITARY TOMBSTONE
COINS LEFT ON TOMBSTONE
While visiting some cemeteries you may notice that
headstones marking certain graves have coins on them, left
by previous v~itors to the grave.
These coins have distinct meanings when left on the
headstones of those who gave their life while serving in
America's military, and these meanings vary depending on
the denomination of coin.
A coin left on a headstone or at the grave site is meant as a
message to the deceased soldier's family that someone else
has visited the grave to pay respect. Leaving a penny at the
grave means simply that you visited.
A nickel indicates that you and the deceased trained at boot
camp together, while a dime means you served with him in
some capacity. By leaving a quarter at the grave, you are
telling the family that you were with the solider when he was
According to tradition, the money left at graves in national
cemeteries and state veterans cemeteries is eventually
collected, and the funds are put toward maintaining the
cemetery or paying burial costs for indigent veterans.
In the US, this practice became common during the Vietnam
war, due to the political divide in the country over the war;
leaving a coin was seen as a more practical way to
communicate that you had visited the grave than contacting
the soldier's family, which could devolve into an
uncomfortable argument over politics relating to the war.
Some Vietnam veterans would leave coins as a "down
payment" to buy their fallen comrades a beer or playa hand
of cards when they would finally be reunited.
The tradition of leaving coins on the headstones of military
men and women can be traced to as far back as the Roman
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