TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Memorial Day weekend is upon us and while many will enjoy that extra day off, it’s also important to remember the meaning of the holiday.

The federal holiday, set annually for the last Monday in May, is to honor the servicemen and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.

While roaming a cemetery, you may have noticed coins on military headstones. But did you know that there is meaning by which coins are left behind?

The Tradition

A penny means that it was left by anyone who simply wanted to pay their respects and thank the deceased for their service.

A nickel indicates that you trained at boot camp with the deceased servicemen while a dime says that you served with them.

Lastly, a quarter signifies that you were with the man or woman when they died. The movement gained popularity during the Vietnam War.

The Reason

Despite what you may think of today’s political climate, there may arguably be no other time in recent American history when the country was more divided than the Vietnam War.

An act of honoring a fallen serviceman or woman, even at a cemetery, often brought up an uncomfortable conversation about politics.

The tradition was a quiet, non-invasive way to thank fellow troops for their sacrifice.