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'Our mission is still the same': Memorial Day meant to remember nation's veterans

Although many Memorial Day services are being scaled back, changed and even moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people can still honor fallen veterans at local cemeteries.

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With many Memorial Day services being scaled back, changed and even moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an official with the American Legion is encouraging individuals and families to honor fallen veterans at local cemeteries.

“Everybody knows someone: whether it’s a loved one, friend of the family, a friend of a friend, a family member – just to come out, pay your respects,” said Steve Lahrs, the Director of the American Legion Riders, post 374 and Marine Corps veteran.

Lahrs says he often sees older generations decorating grave sites, but hopes that tradition continues and is passed down to younger children.

“It is also a place where the children should feel free to come,” Lahrs said.

Still he asks that everyone, young and old, be respectful.

For fallen veterans, there is one other piece of etiquette Lahrs asks visitors to follow.

“If you see spare change on a headstone, it's there for a reason — we just ask that you leave it for the family,” Lahrs said.

Each type of coin left at a gravesite means something different.

Penny: someone visited the gravesite to show their respect.

Nickel: someone who attended boot camp with the fallen visited and payed respect.

Dime: someone who served alongside the fallen on their tour of duty visited and paid respect.

Quarter: Someone who was there when the veteran died visited and paid respect.