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What Does a Coin on a Gravestone Mean?

A penny sits on top of a gravestone.

A cemetery is a somber, yet peaceful place. Chances are, you’ve walked through at least one in your life. Whatever the reason, you’ve probably seen all the different types of headstones and personal touches. But, have you ever seen a coin on a gravestone and wondered what it means?

It’s common for people to leave flowers or small personal tokens on the gravestone of someone they love. But, if you ever see a coin on top of a stone, it’s to honor someone who served in the military.

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A way to honor those who have served by marking military graves.

Leaving a coin on a military headstone is a long-standing tradition, meant to bring attention to those graves and to encourage people to honor those who served. But different coins have different meanings.

If you see a penny on a gravestone, it’s an act of gratitude. Anyone can leave a penny as a simple, heartfelt “thank you” to the person who served. Nickels are left by individuals who went to boot camp with the deceased. A quarter is a bit more of a somber symbol. If someone leaves it, it means they were there when the person passed away—likely killed in action.

So, the next time you pass through a cemetery, consider bringing a few coins along with you to honor those who have served our country. It’s a great tradition and shows exactly how much our soldiers are respected even after they pass.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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