There is actually massive symbolism behind coins left on headstones. You may have no idea, but it is more than simply tossing a coin a wishing well for good luck, and definitely more symbolic than finding a “lucky penny” on the ground and picking it up. In fact, this is one place that you should definitely never pick up the coins. They were left there for a reason, and they were meant to stay there. So leave them in place. Once you learn why they were put there, you’ll understand why.
Honoring the dead has been important since the beginning of time. Every culture, even going back to primitive humans, has had burial rites. They were buried with prized possessions, and their graves were decorated with flowers and other things of that nature. The ancient Egyptians even mummified their dead and in some cases buried them with their treasure. But today, we have developed another tradition that is equally as meaningful, involving coins.
But this tradition involving coins isn’t for everyone. It’s reserved specifically for the military. Often a service member’s death is much harder to take and a lot more traumatic than other deaths, such as someone passing away of natural causes. It’s a violent end to an honorable path, and it deserves to be recognized. No one wants to honor them more than their brother and sisters in arms, and their family members and close friends. So this coin tradition was developed to give them a way to grieve and honor the fallen soldiers in a unique way.