Palm Beach Post
By Kevin D. Thompson
September 7, 2018
Four years ago, Joshua Katz, a 12-year-old devoted Boy Scout, was at a Memorial Day ceremony at the South Florida National Cemetery in suburban Lake Worth passing out water to those thirsty from the heat. A penny on a headstone caught Katz’s eye.
Joshua Katz, 16, at the South Florida National Cemetery Memorial Garden and Benches in Lake Worth. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)“I took a picture of it and looked it up because I didn’t know what it meant,” said Katz, now 16.
He learned it was meant as a message to the deceased soldier’s family that someone else has visited the grave to pay respects.
He learned more: A nickel meant another solider stopped by to visit. A dime meant a soldier served with the deceased soldier and a quarter meant that somebody was there when the soldier died.
While Katz understood the practice of leaving coins, he wanted to do more.
“I spent my whole summer to come up with a way to make sure there was some kind of symbol of recognition on their headstones and that all the names were read aloud,” said the suburban Lake Worth resident.
That will happen Saturday, Sept. 8 at the event Katz helped create, the 5th Annual POW-MIA-OREE (Prisoner of War, Missing in Action, Outdoor Remembrance Educational Event) at the cemetery. The 90-minute event starts at 8:30 a.m.
The event is to show respect for veterans and their families by having the names of every veteran interred at the cemetery read aloud. Also, a custom challenge coin will be placed on each headstone and marker for loved ones, to have as a keepsake to know their loved one has not been forgotten.
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