Why do People Leave Coins on Idaho Military Graves and What Do They Mean?
Last year, we were invited to be part of a car cruise honoring Idaho's fallen heroes. When we got to the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery one of the car club members pulled us aside to tell us more about a tradition we've always wondered about.
Traditionally, the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery holds a very beautiful and powerful Memorial Day ceremony. In the past, it's included a wreath presentation, flyover, participation form members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and speakers from the Governor's Office. Unfortunately, for the second year in a row, they will forego a formal gathering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will, with the help of the Captain Art Jackson Young Marines and volunteers from Veterans Service Organizations, place a single United States Flag at each gravesite.
The cemetery will be open from morning to dusk on Memorial Day for those wishing to pay their respect to Idaho's fallen soldiers on their own. If you do plan to visit the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery over Memorial Day Weekend, see if you can spy any tombstones with coins left on top of them.
This was the tradition the car club member told us about last year. As he sorted through a handful of coins, he explained that each denomination of coin placed by visitors represents a different message for the fallen soldier's family.
- Penny: Means you visited to pay respect.
- Nickel: Means you were part of boot camp at the same time as the fallen soldier.
- Dime: Means you served with the fallen soldier at sometime during their time in the service.
- Quarter: Means you were present when the soldier was killed.
So what happens to all of those coins? If they're left in a national or state veterans cemeteries, they're usually collected and put toward either the burial costs for needy veterans or upkeep of the facility.
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