Welcome to the History Corner!
Celebrating the rich history of Port Byron, New York, an old Erie Canal village in the Town of Mentz. This site is dedicated to the legacy and heritage of our community as well as a variety of regional historical tidbits. I hope you enjoy your visit and will stop by again.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

100th Anniversary of the Lincoln Penny

2009 Marks the 100th anniversary of the minting of the American penny that proudly displays Abraham Lincoln.

Did you know that the Lincoln penny is more than just currency?

It has taken on another unusual purpose. It can often be found on top of a fallen civil war soldier's headstone.

Why do people place a penny on a soldier’s monument?

The purpose is symbolic. The first Lincoln penny was issued in 1909. Union soldiers and their families started placing them on headstones to honor their connection to Abraham Lincoln.

You may even find a penny on monuments of others that provided support to the war effort such as war nurses. Even Harriet Tubman's stone has been known to accumulate them.

This month’s issue of the Bugle Call, the official newsletter of the Grand Army of the Republic, offers a wonderful explanation on the significance of this ritual.

It is believed that the penny brings peace to the soldier as he serves under Lincoln in death as he did in life. In turn, Lincoln would be looking up at the stars as his spirit continues to serve a country that he lived and died for.

Next time you pass a monument with a penny placed on top it, may you be reminded of the person’s sacrifice. May it also bring awareness to all of the progress that we have made as a unified country .

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