Challenge coins are also called military coins, although they’re not specifically restricted to the armed services. They usually get presented to military personnel or public servants for their service and achievements, and they’re a century-old tradition in America. The idea of challenge coins might go back in history as far as the Roman Empire, and they’re important to veterans for many different reasons.
1. Veterans Remember Personal Achievements
Challenge coins are frequently presented to military personnel after they perform a great service or complete a tremendous undertaking. Sometimes, it’s when a military member attains a new rank. In other cases, it’s when they demonstrate incredible fortitude or courage while on a mission. Those individuals who go above and beyond what normal duty would require of them should be honored, and challenge coins often serve that specific purpose.
2. Military Veterans Served in Specific Units
While some challenge coins are issued for moments of individual accomplishment and bravery, they’re also issued to entire units or teams. When a group of individuals comes together for shared service, their cumulative contributions to national defense are a point of pride. These coins become a symbol of unit cohesion, and it’s important to remember the camaraderie enjoyed by all involved.
3. Veterans Recognize the Importance of Unity
Even though many challenge coins might recognize individual service and achievements, those who have them bestowed upon them know they’re part of a community of service and sacrifice. Veterans know that they belong to a larger group within the armed forces community, but those with challenge coins are often members of a more select group that has earned the regard and respect of their peers in essential ways. Getting a challenge coin is a lot like joining a family, and the tradition is highly regarded for this.
4. Veterans Might Have Needed Them Behind Enemy Lines
Military challenge coins aren’t always handed out after an event, mission, or accomplishment. Some coins are issued as a means of identification. These coins would have inscriptions, dates, or images that the bearer could use to prove they were a member of a particular unit. In times behind enemy lines, soldiers might need their military coins to demonstrate their true identity to other allies. That would help them avoid being hanged as a spy or being shot. In many cases, military veterans who own challenge coins for these reasons might demonstrate obvious pride in owning such a coin. Still, they might never be able to share the stories surrounding those particular symbols.
Symbols Worthy of Respect
Many different groups have custom challenge coins, and they’re usually intended to honor a wide variety of achievements. The symbolic value behind these coins is worthy of everyone’s respect, whether they’re veterans of the military or other service groups or just regular citizens who benefit from the dedication and sacrifice of those who serve their nation and various communities. These coins honor those who go above and beyond the call of duty or just those who answer it.