Memorial Day – Coins on a Headstone

With Memorial Day on May 31st, many people pay their respects to the fallen soldiers by going to the local cemeteries. Also visiting a cemetery that your ancestors are buried at is done. For military personnel, some people place a small US flag by the headstone or flowers.

However, here is a tradition you might also see, especially for military service people buried. Even at the most famous military cemetery, Arlington National Cemetery outside of Washington, D.C. There is a tradition of placing shiny coins on the headstones or a grave marker.

If you do see a coin on a headstone, usually it was placed by a person also in the military. Depending on which type of coin is left, there is a meaning.

If it is a penny – it means you visited the gravesite, it might be for an unknown soldier or a member of your family.

If it is a nickel – it is placed by a person who trained at the same time with the deceased person at the same boot camp.

If it is a dime – the person who placed it served in some military unit with the deceased person at some time.

If it is a quarter – this means the person placing the quarter was with the deceased individual when they died.

All of these are a way to pay respect to the service person.

Any coins placed on headstones or headstones at military cemeteries are collected and can be used for cemetery upkeep, or help pay for burial costs for a veteran.

Family members are moved when they see a coin on their family member’s headstone, it shows someone cared and their service is honored.

Not just for military personnel but even non-military people may have a coin, especially a penny on the headstone. It is a sign of respect.

Photo: Senator John McCain headstone with coins.

Related Blogs:

Korean War

Locating Military Service Records

Symbols on Headstones

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