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What’s the Meaning Behind Leaving Coins on Military Headstones?

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Have you ever wondered about the coins that seem to be placed on top of military headstones at cemeteries? You might be surprised to find out their meaning.

According to this post on Snopes, leaving coins on top of military headstones is a tradition in which soldiers outside of the deceased’s family visits the soldier’s grave to pay their respects. The kind of coin they leave on the headstone is an indication of the type of relationship they had with the fallen soldier.

A penny is just a simple sign that the grave was visited and respects were paid. A nickel means that the visitor spent time with the deceased at boot camp. If you see a dime, it means that the visitor served with the soldier at some point in time. Finally, a quarter indicates that the visitor was present at the time when the deceased fell.

According to the Examiner, the tradition of marking graves with coins may or may not have existed in the past, but could have been started during the Vietnam War. People have also begun leaving QR scan codes that will allow scanners to learn more about the person in the grave through Living Headstones via

It’s also thought that the act stemmed from the Ancient Greek/Roman tradition of leaving coins on the eyes of the deceased to help pay for passage into the afterlife.

This Memorial Day, remember to give thanks and appreciate all of the fallen heroes who have served and given up their lives for our freedom.

Next: 9 Moving Soldier Homecomings for Memorial Day

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