For the hundred-ish years before Memorial Day was called Memorial Day, it was referred to as Decoration Day throughout the country. A day set aside not only to remember those that fought for our freedoms, but also a day to decorate and maintain military graves.
If you've ever had the gumption to pitch in at your local cemetery, you may have noticed coins having been placed on a grave or two. While it may seem random or weird, there is a deep meaning behind it and it carries a deep significance to the person that left it as well as the departed.
So what do they mean?
A penny is traditionally left on a grave as a sign of respect and remembrance. It can be left by anyone to thank a person for their service, be it a friend, family member, or anyone that wants to show their respect.
When a nickel is left on a grave, it's left as a marker that they actually knew the person laying at rest and that they went through boot camp with them.
Dimes are left by someone who actually served with the person in a larger capacity throughout their career. Perhaps at multiple duty stations around the world.
Leaving a quarter symbolizes that the person who left the coin was with the departed when they passed. You can feel the weight of the significance of this.
If you're willing and able to get out and actually celebrate Memorial Day this weekend in the manner it was originally intended, to maintain and decorate a veterans grave, keep the coins in mind. Heck, take a roll or two of pennies with you and show your respects too.
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