Honoring Our Loved Ones: The Meaning Behind Coins on Gravestones

When it comes to remembering and honoring our loved ones who have passed away, we each have our unique ways of doing so. And that should be celebrated and respected, even if it may seem unfamiliar to others.

Coins on Gravestones

A Symbol of Remembrance

Placing coins on gravestones is a tradition that can be found in cemeteries all around the US and beyond. This custom caught my attention as a child when I visited my grandfather’s grave, sparking my curiosity about its significance.

While it was once believed to have roots in the military forces of the Roman Empire, recent research has debunked this misconception. Instead, the tradition of placing coins on gravestones can be traced back to the Vietnam War.

US War Memorial

A Practical Form of Communication

During the Vietnam War, the country was divided over differing opinions on the war. Leaving a coin on a soldier’s grave became a practical way to communicate that you had visited without engaging in potentially uncomfortable political discussions with the soldier’s family.

This act of leaving a coin is a way to show respect and let others know that you have honored the memory of the fallen soldier. It serves as a simple yet powerful symbol of remembrance.

Different Meanings, Shared Respect

Each coin left on a gravestone carries its own significance. Here’s a breakdown of what each coin may represent:

  • Penny: Placing a penny on the gravestone signifies that someone was there, paying their respects.
  • Nickel: A nickel is often left by someone who served in boot camp with the deceased, symbolizing the bond formed during that time.
  • Dime: Signifying time served in the military together, a dime is a way to honor the shared experiences and camaraderie.
  • Quarter: When a quarter is left, it indicates that the person who left it was present during the time of the loved one’s death, offering a heartfelt connection to the family.

Join the Conversation

Have you ever come across a coin left on a gravestone? Did you know its meaning? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

Comments Section

Similar articles