Did you know that leaving coins on military gravestones has a special meaning for visitors and families of a deceased veteran? While vacationing on Hatteras Island, North Carolina a few weeks ago my husband and I visited the British Cemetery. It was there that we found coins, along with other items, on the tops of the grave stones.
The meaning of this time-honored tradition is meant to send a message to the deceased soldier’s family telling them that someone has visited the grave site to pay their respect. So you may wonder what is the meaning of doing this.
A penny left on the gravestone means that someone paid a visit. A nickel indicates that you and the deceased trained at a boot camp together. The dime tells the family that you served in some capacity with the deceased. The quarter means that you were with the deceased soldier when he was killed.
These coins are collected by the National Cemetery and state veterans cemeteries, and eventually used towards maintaining the cemetery or to help defray burial costs of future soldiers. To read the full account of this tradition, please click here.
Recently where I volunteer I assisted finding a cemetery for an out-of-state visitor. I identified the cemetery, location, and phone number. Before leaving he thanked me with a hug and told me that he will be placing a nickel on the gravestone of the deceased. The researcher was at boot camp with the deceased soldier. Both served during the Vietnam era.
Thank you for reading and feel free to share with friends. Remember the following two dates:
We Salute Our Veterans Observance on Sunday, November 6 at 2:00 PM
Wreaths Across America on Saturday, December 17 at 11:50 PM
Both are held in the Garden of Honor at Mount Olivet Cemetery, 725 Baltimore Street in Hanover.