Each year, the U.S. Census Bureau releases a highly anticipated annual report illuminating the condition of the Veteran community.

As is customary, Memorial Day is celebrated as a long holiday weekend by most and often is cited as the beginning of summer recreational activities. But that hardly detracts from the meaning behind the honorable occasion.

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This weekend you can celebrate those who gave the ultimate sacrifice by:

  • visiting Service Member burial sites across the state;
  • flying Old Glory;
  • sharing our nation's history with the next generation;
  • or lending an ear to a Veteran who wants to open up about his brothers or sisters.
  • BONUS || The Idaho Division of Veteran Services is an excellent resource for those who would like to locate a burial site.
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And while you're out visiting Veteran gravesites this weekend, don’t be alarmed to find what looks like spare change on the tombstones as you walk by to pay your respects. This military tradition is deep-rooted amongst warriors, dating as far back as Greek mythology. Dating back to the ancient Greeks, the ferryman required payment to ferry the departed to the afterlife.

“Each type of coin holds a different meaning. Leaving a penny means you visited and want to thank the veterans of the armed forces for their service.

A nickel left at a grave means you trained at boot camp with the deceased servicemen, while a dime suggests you served with him or her.

Finally, a quarter signifies if previous visitors were with the soldier when they passed away.”

—Jeremy Burchard, Wide Open Country

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The tradition of paying respects to the dead has changed throughout the centuries. And today's tradition of leaving coins on the tomb of a lost brother-in-arms has taken on its own significant meaning among Veterans.

Honor our fallen this holiday weekend by talking to your loved ones about our nation’s heroes and visiting Veteran burial sites. But more than anything, celebrate the lives and  contributions of those who fought and died to protect our home.

Gem State patriots inclined to celebrate Memorial Day with the Idaho Division of Veterans Services are invited to attend a one-hour ceremony at Idaho State Veterans Cemetery. The ceremony, which includes a commemorative wreath presentation by local Veteran agencies, begins promptly at 10 a.m.

In a show of touching support, local members of Bugles Across America will render TAPS on their bagpipes at noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m. If you have yet to experience TAPS in-person, or delivered by bagpipes, it's truly incredible. We hope to see you there!

 

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