Why are coins on some gravestones?
Funerals have a long-standing tradition of commemorating deceased loved ones, such as to leave coins on the headstones of military personnel, a gesture dating back to the Roman Empire. This small offering serves as a sign of respect and remembrance by visitors to the grave site, symbolizing that they too have paid their respects.
- Leaving a penny at the grave means simply that you visited.
- A nickel indicates that you and the deceased trained at boot camp together.
- A dime means you served with the deceased in some capacity.
- A quarter means you are telling the family that you were with the soldier when the deceased was killed.
Gravestones, especially those of military personnel, are often adorned with coins. This began during the Vietnam War to demonstrate respect and remembrance without getting into a disagreement over political matters.
More recently, non-military gravestones may also feature coins which can signify different relationships to the deceased - a penny is often used to show that they were not forgotten, while a nickel might mean the visitor was at school together, a dime suggests they once worked together and a quarter shows that the passerby was present when the subject passed away.