Honoring veterans with coins, and their meaning

Published: May. 29, 2022 at 8:55 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Many people will see coins at cemeteries on Memorial Day to pay their respects to fallen servicemen and women.

Al Wagner, a veteran from Springfield who served Navy from 1958 to 1964, said it’s a great tradition.

“These people did it to help this country grow and help this country prosper the way it should,” said Wagner.

Wagner said the tradition is a way to remember fallen heroes.

“All gave some, and some gave all, and we honor that,” said Wagner. “Those ones who gave it all, those that give their life for this country. They have a right to be honored and respected.”

Wagner said he had been involved with the Springfield Veterans of Foreign Wars Post since the 1960′s, and it is essential to hold onto traditions.

He said pennies mean you paid respects, nickels mean you attended boot camp with them, dimes are you served in the armed forces with them, and quarters mean you were with the soldier when they lost their life.

“It’s just a tradition that shows the family that someone still cares for the honor that they give to the country,” said Wagner.

Wagner said it started with Vietnam Veterans showing respect, but the tradition isn’t new.

“Oh, this tradition has gone back to ancient, back into ancient Greece,” said Wagner.

Wagner said veterans might put challenge coins on graves, coins with emblems from where they served. Wagner also noted at cemeteries, and these coins are picked up to help pay for the facilities, help with veteran’s funerals, or other funds. The veteran said a ‘thank you for your service’ goes a long way.

“A young lady asked me the other day, said, I really want to know what that means to you, and I said, it means a whole lot to me, because you’re showing respect to a person that served the country to give this country honor and respect,” said Wagner.

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