« Why do some people place coins on gravestones? »


Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when they’re laid to rest in a serene cemetery.

In fact, some people miss their lost family members and friends so much that they leave astonishing and creative gifts such as flower arrangements, and in some cultures, delicacies.

Placing coins on gravestones is reserved to be particularly for military personnel and holds special significance for veterans and their families.

The history of placing coins on gravestones is uncertain. Some claim the ritual dates back to the Roman Empire. However, according to Snopes, there is no reason to believe this is the case due to a lack of documentation.

Whatever the case may be, one thing remains true. Most people can’t imagine the sacrifices made by those serving in the military and their families.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that those who have a sense of community would find a way to honor those who have served. The practice of leaving pennies on gravestones is said to have started during the Vietnam War.

Leaving pennies on gravestones seems to be a safe way to connect with each other.

« Because of the political division in the country over the war, leaving a coin behind was seen as a practical way to communicate that you visited the grave rather than engaging the soldier’s family, which could lead to a shared political interpretation of the war, » explains a page on the American Legion website.

Moreover, the practice of leaving pennies on gravestones serves as a way for soldiers to honor their « fallen comrades » or to « buy them a beer. » Surprisingly, each coin represents something unique.

For example, a simply left penny signifies that someone was present. A nickel holds a deeper sentimental value because it represents both the person leaving the memento and the deceased, as they were together in training camp.

Furthermore, a dime symbolizes shared service, even if only for a brief period before deployment, and finally, a quarter, the most argumentative of all coins on a gravestone.

The quarter informs the deceased’s relatives that the person leaving the memento was indeed present at the time of death.

Interestingly, leaving pennies on the gravestones of those in military service is not the only practice involving money or even « coins, » as challenge coins are another popular military tradition.

Although today thematic and personalized coins are prevalent, they were an important part of US military tradition during World War I. The tradition is said to foster camaraderie among its members.

Despite their emotional value and representation of something remarkable, they hold no monetary value. In contrast, many other traditional coins are used as symbols of luck, kindness towards newlyweds, and conveying wishes.

There are also historical accounts of people being buried alongside their wealth. For example, Abraham Lincoln did not have pennies placed on his grave. Instead, he was buried with two and a half dollars over his eyes.

Coins have had significance for many cultures and purposes, including status and luck.

Whether the symbolism of currency plays a role in the tradition of placing coins on gravestones is unknown, but the tradition represents a connection that goes much deeper than most people understand.

It’s a way to show others that the sacrifices of individuals in the military and their families are not overlooked. When you see a coin on someone’s gravestone, yesterday is what it means.

Good Info