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Meaning Behind The Coins On The Gravestones Of The Fallen

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When visiting a cemetery, many have wondered what the coins on the gravestones of soldiers mean. The practice is an ancient one that was revived during the Vietnam era, and it is a deep-felt method for service members to pay respects to fallen brothers and sisters.

Ancient Greek and Roman Times 

In ancient times, the Greeks and Romans placed coins on their dead due to their belief. In Greek mythology, the coins would be used to pay the ferry to the underworld. The ferry would transport souls across the Styx River to the land of the dead. 

If no payment were offered to Charon, the ferryman to the underworld, access across the river was denied. Next, the souls would be cursed to roam Styx’s banks for all eternity.  

To prevent that from happening to loved ones, the Greeks would place coins on the eyes of the dead, whereas the Romans would place them in their mouths. 

Modern American Military Tradition

The American tradition emulates some similarities with ancient beliefs, however, with significant changes. Instead of beliefs about the afterlife, the purpose of the modern American tradition is to pay respect. 

The coins on gravestones of service members and veterans have distinct meanings, especially if a service member gave their life while serving their country. 

Essentially, a coin left on top of the gravestone lets the family of the fallen know that someone else has visited the gravesite and paid respect. 

The Coins On Gravestones and Their Meaning

Each coin has a different message, a different meaning.

Quarter: the fellow service member who left it was with the fallen soldier when they died. 

Dime: the fellow service member who left it has served with the fallen soldier.

Nickel: the fellow service member who left it has trained with the fallen soldier.

Penny: the fellow service member who left it came to pay their respects, regardless if they knew the fallen soldier personally or not. 

A Mission To Serve Our Heroes

If you or anyone you know served in the military, you may need help obtaining a fair disability rating and compensation. Contact Veteran Ratings. Veteran Ratings has a 95% chance of success in acquiring the rating and benefits you deserve.

Have a question? On the fence? Then contact us for more information. We are here for you — we proudly serve those who served. Veterans are our only priority because they made this the land of the free through their bravery and sacrifice.

We are not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with the U.S. military or the Department of Defense

Get The Benefits You Deserve

contact one of our consultants today for a free evaluation of your VA claim

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James Cooper
James Cooper
James Cooper comes from a long line of Veterans and decided to enlist for the Marine Corps at the ripe age of 18-years-old following in his father's footsteps. Shortly after being medically discharged from the service, James decided to pursue a career in journalism. Having battled with the VA for years himself, he began to study the system and commit his career to help fellow disabled veterans.

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Meaning Behind The Coins On The Gravestones Of The Fallen

When visiting a cemetery, many have wondered what the coins on the gravestones of soldiers mean. The practice is an ancient one that was revived during the Vietnam era, and it is a deep-felt method for service members to pay respects to fallen brothers and sisters.

Ancient Greek and Roman Times 

In ancient times, the Greeks and Romans placed coins on their dead due to their belief. In Greek mythology, the coins would be used to pay the ferry to the underworld. The ferry would transport souls across the Styx River to the land of the dead. 

If no payment were offered to Charon, the ferryman to the underworld, access across the river was denied. Next, the souls would be cursed to roam Styx’s banks for all eternity.  

To prevent that from happening to loved ones, the Greeks would place coins on the eyes of the dead, whereas the Romans would place them in their mouths. 

Modern American Military Tradition

The American tradition emulates some similarities with ancient beliefs, however, with significant changes. Instead of beliefs about the afterlife, the purpose of the modern American tradition is to pay respect. 

The coins on gravestones of service members and veterans have distinct meanings, especially if a service member gave their life while serving their country. 

Essentially, a coin left on top of the gravestone lets the family of the fallen know that someone else has visited the gravesite and paid respect. 

The Coins On Gravestones and Their Meaning

Each coin has a different message, a different meaning.

Quarter: the fellow service member who left it was with the fallen soldier when they died. 

Dime: the fellow service member who left it has served with the fallen soldier.

Nickel: the fellow service member who left it has trained with the fallen soldier.

Penny: the fellow service member who left it came to pay their respects, regardless if they knew the fallen soldier personally or not. 

A Mission To Serve Our Heroes

If you or anyone you know served in the military, you may need help obtaining a fair disability rating and compensation. Contact Veteran Ratings. Veteran Ratings has a 95% chance of success in acquiring the rating and benefits you deserve.

Have a question? On the fence? Then contact us for more information. We are here for you — we proudly serve those who served. Veterans are our only priority because they made this the land of the free through their bravery and sacrifice.

We are not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with the U.S. military or the Department of Defense

Get The Benefits You Deserve

contact one of our consultants today for a free evaluation of your VA claim

learn more
James Cooper
James Cooper
James Cooper comes from a long line of Veterans and decided to enlist for the Marine Corps at the ripe age of 18-years-old following in his father's footsteps. Shortly after being medically discharged from the service, James decided to pursue a career in journalism. Having battled with the VA for years himself, he began to study the system and commit his career to help fellow disabled veterans.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

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