During the Halloween season, we'll hear tall tales of ghosts, myths, legends, and spooky seances that for the most part are just 'Tall Tales' but one of those stories is 100% true and the meaning behind it is really cool.

Have you ever walked through a cemetery and notice someone saying a few words under their breath before walking up to a headstone, carefully setting a coin on top, and then leaving?  Or have you ever walked by a headstone and noticed lots of different types of coins sitting on top?  Who's putting them there and why are they putting them there?  What do these coins mean?

If you see this, know that whoever lies in that grave was most likely military.  The coins are a physical gesture people leave to notify the family of the deceased that someone who cares has been there to visit and the denomination of the coins themselves have special meaning.  Here's what each coin means...

  • A Penny - means someone visited
  • A Nickel - means you and the deceased soldier served at boot camp together
  • A Dime - means you served with the soldier
  • A Quarter - means you were with this soldier when he died

Most leave these coins over special military holidays but more and more they're starting to pop up throughout the year.  After awhile caretakers of the cemetery will clean up the coins and the small amount of money brought in is used for cemetery maintenance, the cost of burial for other soldiers who might not be able to pay for the costs of burial and for the care of indigent soldiers.

This tradition is said to have started during the Vietnam War when soldiers often times did not want to talk about the war and this gave them a voice and a way to pay their respects without having to do so.

Next time you walk by a tombstone and see that coin, take a moment to reflect on who that man or woman was and know that they made an impact in this world.  To somebody, they were very special and to all of us, they sacrificed so that we can eat what we want, do what we want, and live in a free country the way we see fit.  Thank you to all those who are serving and to all those who have served and sacrificed.