Memorial Day Tradition

Published May 5, 2015 by lynn k scott

With Memorial Day only a few weeks away, I’d like share a tradition I have started with my daughter.  This will be the third year we honor our fallen military.

Perhaps you’ve been to a cemetery and seen coins on the tombstones but never understood why.  There are a variety of beliefs as to how this came about and why.  I am focusing on the present and our military personnel.

Penny = you visited the grave
Nickel = you trained in bit camp together
Dime = you served in the same company
Quarter = you were there when they died

Each year, I take my daughter to the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery.  We take a bag of 50 pennies.  She picks the headstone.  I read the name, rank, branch and years of birth/death.  She then places a penny on the headstone and says, “Thank you for your service”.

I am teaching her the real reason behind Memorial Day.  I am teaching her that freedom isn’t free.  It can get emotional.  It can raise questions you might not be prepared to answer (depending on the child’s age).  However, I personally believe it is important to honor those who fight and die for us.

This  picture was from last year.  It was the final grave we visited and I will never forget it.  My daughter thought it was “funny” that there was a bottle of beer there.  I explained why some people do that.  As I went to read the headstone, I stopped.  My daughter looked at me, just after I  wiped a tear that was threatening to fall.  I told her that the Marine (if I remember correctly) that was buried there, was her brother’s age.  She made a slight gasping noise, bent down, hugged the stone and then said, “thank you for your service”.  Then my tears really fell as I said a sllient prayer for his family.

image

As an Army mom of a soldier in the 82nd Airborne, I consider it an honor to make this acknowledgment each year.

Won’t you consider joining us in our tradition?

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