First, a quick history…
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Major General John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30.
It’s believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
Georgia National Cemetery
When I recently visited the Georgia National Cemetery where my mom’s body is buried, I saw coins on headstones and didn’t know what they represented. I’ve learned their significance since then, though, and it seemed like an appropriate thing to share on Memorial Day.
A coin left on a headstone lets the deceased soldier’s family know that somebody stopped by to pay their respects. Leaving a penny means you visited.
A nickel means that you and the deceased soldier trained at boot camp together.
If you served with the soldier, you leave a dime.
A quarter is very significant because it means that you were there when that soldier was killed.
So what happens to the coins after Memorial Day?
The money is collected and is put to various uses depending on the cemetery—grounds maintenance, the cost of burial for soldiers, or the care for indigent soldiers.
So if you visit the grave of a fallen soldier in coming weeks or months, you might remember to leave a coin. To show the family that someone else is remembering too.
Blessings on your Memorial Day, which also happens to be our own Deb Raney’s birthday! I won’t say which one it is, but I think it’s a milestone bday (which I’ll be having soon enough!) I’m right on your heels, Deb!
Be sure and comment below and
wish Deb a Happy Birthday!
Love to all,