Why We Leave Coins on Graves
Did you ever visit a cemetery and see coins on tombstones? There are a couple of reasons for that. And maybe next time you visit a loved one in the cemetery you’ll come with a pocketful of coins and visit others there too.
A coin left on a headstone let’s the deceased soldier’s family know that someone visited to pay their respects.
Leaving a penny means you visited.
Leaving a nickel means that you and the deceased soldier went through boot camp together.
If you served with the soldier, you leave a dime.
A quarter is very significant. Leaving a quarter behind represents you were there when that soldier was killed in action.
This practice has been used in the United States most popularly since the Vietnam War, but the tradition of leaving coins goes even farther back in history.
The Legend of the Ferrymen goes all the way back to Greek Mythology.
According to legend, Charon, the ferryman of Hades, requires payment of one coin to ferry your loved ones soul across the River Styx that separates the living from the dead.
Tradionally, the coins were placed in the mouths or eyes of the deceased.
People who can’t pay the fare are said to be doomed to wander the shores of the river for 100 years.
Myth or no myth, sounds like leaving a coin, just in case, would be a nice idea.
Many peoole leave coins merely as a sign of respect and to let family know someone visited. Military, myth, or not.