A penny is used to simply honor the dead, a nickel means you went to boot camp or basic training with the fallen, a dime means you served with them in some. The cemeteries, typically military cemeteries, collect these coins for a good purpose. They're used for cemetery upkeep and to help pay for the. People sometimes leave challenge coins in particular at military headstones. Usually displaying the emblem of a particular military unit, comrades of the late.