VIA| Walking the hallowed hills of Arlington, I have encountered some of the nation’s greatest heroes and their final resting places. There are many ways to show respect for those who have fallen, but one of the less-common, but coolest, ways in which soldiers show respect for the fallen is to leave a coin on their tombstone. But what does it mean? Mad World News explains this neat tradition:
At some point, we all end up visiting a cemetery in remembrance of someone we loved and perhaps placing something by the tombstone to honor that particular person. However, if you notice a coin on a tombstone during one of your visits, make sure you never touch it. There’s a simple reason the coin has been placed on that grave site.
The human race has always honored the deceased in one way or another. Depending on your culture, there are several different ways to honor the dead. However, a less common tradition has recently come to light for many of us as coins have been seen placed on the tombstones of our fallen heroes – an honor not many of us will receive, but a tradition among American soldiers that is absolutely remarkable.
A coin left on a fallen soldier’s headstone lets his or her family know that someone in the military has stopped by to pay their respect. The only thing that makes this tradition more honorable is the meaning behind each of the coins left.
For example, while visiting the National Cemetery in Holly, Michigan last year, Dave Malenfant noticed some coins placed on a few tombstones. He knew there had to be a meaning behind what he was seeing and immediately went home to do a bit of research.
“Leaving a penny means you visited,” Dave explained, according to AWM. “A nickel means that you and the deceased soldier trained at boot camp together. If you served with the soldier, you leave a dime. A quarter is very significant because it means that you were there when that soldier died.”
To make this tradition among soldiers even more honorable is that the custom isn’t an official tradition of the military. This is something that soldiers have created over time to honor their fallen brothers and sisters in arms.
If you see these coins, don’t you dare put them in your pocket. Don’t even touch them. These are small payments to our veterans who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
A soldier does not stop being a soldier when he leaves us. Respect earned in life is showed in death and it is terrific that even in these dark times of moral relativism, there are still many willing to pay respects to those who has sacrificed for our great nation and each other.
So, remember: if you see a coin on a tombstone, give a smile, give a salute, but don’t take the coin.