Skip to comments.Why Soldiers Leave Coins as a Memorial
Posted on 05/23/2014 9:58:48 PM PDT by george76
Have you ever noticed coins on a gravestone, and wondered why they were there? When a U.S. service member or loved one leaves a coin on a gravestone it has special significance. Though the meaning of this custom has changed over time, its a tradition with a long history.The idea of leaving coins with the departed dates back as far as the Greeks and Romans.
According to Greek mythology, the River Styx separates the living from the dead and Charon, the ferryman of Hades, will not carry your soul across without a payment. So unless you had a coin, your soul would be doomed to spend 100 years in solitude along the shore. This is why family members and loved ones would place coins in the mouths or over the eyes of the departed, in order to ensure safe passage into the afterlife.
Romans left coins of different denominations on graves. Each coin conveyed a different meaning. U.S. service members carried on the tradition after the Vietnam War. Soldiers used it as a way to communicate with their fallen comrades families without having to say a word. Since the politics surrounding the Vietnam War were so controversial, this nonverbal practice allowed soldiers to pay their respects without risking a debate with the family of the fallen. Each coin on a soldiers grave tells a different story.
(Excerpt) Read more at kgw.com ...
even back then, stinkin’ death taxes...
a touching tradition
Thanks for this. Learn something new every day.
Agreed. Excellent article and very informative. Now I know why.
I was at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday. There were many coins scattered over the Kennedy grave. There was a sign asking people NOT to throw coins at the astronaut/Iran hostage rescue memorial....but I think there was grass in front, and those coins would become mowing missiles. At the cemetery on West Point, many of the grave stones have little piles of rocks that have been left on them by visitors.
Leaving a pebble on a gravestone is a Jewish tradition IIRC.
I think youre right. and old timer funeral directors would leave things like paper clips or coins. I was told that its a way to leave a little piece of you there.