Have you ever seen coins on a tombstone? Dave Malenfant works at Holly, Michigan’s National Military Cemetery. He has seen countless families mourn and grieve at the passing of a loved one. Many visitors to the cemetery leave American coins on the headstones of the deceased.
Malenfant was intrigued, so he did some research to find out the meaning of this practice. Leaving coins on gravestones is a way of honoring military members that have died and to show the family that someone had visited the grave site.
No one knows for sure how the tradition began, but it is a beautiful way to remember those who made sacrifices for the country. Some people think the gesture started to become popular during the second world war.
At first, is was just a way to pay respect to the fallen. As time passed each coin adopted a special meaning of its own. If you just want to acknowledge and show respect to the dead soldier, leave a penny. A nickel is left by a person who trained in boot camp with the deceased.
If you served alongside the soldier, you leave a dime and a quarter means that the person was present when that soldier was killed. The United States Army does not have an official policy that recognizes this practice, but it is a common occurrence anyway.
Watch the video below to see people pay tribute to our fallen heroes. It is a truly powerful gesture, but to the families of our soldiers, it means a great deal.