Mementos have been found for the dead left by the living since the earliest graves were discovered. From the simplest graves of the masses to the those for kings, items are left for use in the afterlife such a pottery, beads and weapons.
The mythology of the Greeks describe coins placed in the mouth of the dead for the payment to Charon, the ferryman, for passage over the river after death.
It has long been a Jewish tradition when vising a loved one to leave a small stone or a small pile of stones on the tombstone. Flowers are perishable but stones are not.
This is a video of the stone rubbing my family did of the stone and also rubbing sand from Omaha Beach for photos .
WHAT DO THE COINS LEFT ON MILITARY HEADSTONES MEAN?
Here are the coins and the message each brings: ~A penny indicates a visit to this grave site. ~A nickle says the visitor trained in boot camp with the deceased soldier. ~A dime indicates the two had served together. ~ A quarter is very meaningful in that its message says the visitor was with the soldier at his death.
What happens to the coins, you might ask? It is collected and used for burial expenses for indigent soldiers, or maintenance for veterans’ cemeteries.
This summer when we visited my brother’s grave to celebrate his life and the correction of his information, at the end of the celebration, my grandson , Henry played Taps and the family filed by and each placed a penny on George’s cross. He will not be forgotten.
My grandson, Henry, beautifully played Taps. He is standing before the wall of the missing in front of Glen Miller’s name. The big band director is a favorite of his. You can see that without the sand rubbed into the engraving, the writing on the marble wall is impossible to read.
If you are going to a cemetery, take some pennies to place on a soldier’s stone. This simply act will tell the family that their loved ones is not forgotten but honored for his/her service.