Honoring Veterans with Challenge Coins
Challenge coins are a relatively recent fad that is gaining a lot of momentum by people of all ages within the past few years, however, the history of these coins dates back centuries. Some would argue that the coins originated before the settlement and colonization of North American. Regardless of when these coins were developed, though, we do know that they have been used a significant mementos for unity, confidence and remembrance since the very beginning.
They are being used by office personnel and sports teams to create bonds that money can’t buy and are being gifted to young adults upon graduation or in celebration of becoming a homeowner, landing a new job, or for the birth of a first child. They are used to remember our loved ones when they have passed on into another world. They give us something physical and tangible to hold and put into the palm of our hands an existential concept that sometimes cannot be described with words, ideas or images.
Challenge coins have become a great way to remember and commemorate special events, people and places in our lives. They have also become a great gift to give.
What are challenge coins?
Challenge coins are a small, circular and flat object made out of different types of metal. They can be made in silver, bronze, copper or brass. They can be customized specifically for someone you love or can be produced in masses and given to a graduating class or to a branch of the military. They are meant to be carried around in your pocket and serve as a constant reminder of some special event or group. They are intended to bring belonging and a sense of camaraderie but serve many meaningful purposes beyond this.
The perks of carrying around a challenge coin
- Challenge coins are small and easy to transport
- Made of high quality brass but do not weigh a lot
- Fit nicely in your pocket
- Serve as a reminder and act as a memento of a special time or person or place that has affected your life or at least become a huge part of it
- They are a physical representation and tangible keepsake of a special chapter or event in your life
- They remind you that you are connected to your past in a special way
- They remind you that you are a part of something larger than yourself and that, by carrying this coin around, you are never alone
Why challenge coins make great gifts
- They are cost effective
- They are a great way to show that you care and have been thinking of a person in a special, non-traditional kind of way
- They are extremely personalized and are, therefore, extremely unique; no other person on earth will have the exact same challenge coin as you, unless you want to buy a few of the same one, of course
Honoring military veterans with challenge coins
The significance of honoring military veterans with custom made challenge coins is a great idea. Here’s why.
Building the bond of brotherhood. Giving challenge coins to veterans can build unity and create a special sense of camaraderie among veterans that is not easily found elsewhere. They can also give light to all of the invisible lines of connection that still exist between a veteran and his peers. For example, giving the coin, especially years after the veteran has been participating in the service, is a great way for him or her to remember where they have been. It is a great way to remember that they were once a part of something larger than themselves, that they played an important and key role in serving their country.
Giving hope and helping with postpartum depression. Giving the gift of a challenge coin can give hope to veterans who may be suffering from postpartum depression disorder. The coin connects them to their past in a certain way that memories can’t because the coin is tangible. Like a photo, it can trigger new memories and bring back old ones. Sometimes revisiting these memories are helpful for healing individuals who need to move on and forget or even recover from traumatic experiences.
Inspiring loyalty. Challenge coins can inspire loyalty within veterans in a new way. Anyone who has ever been part of a team knows that the camaraderie and unity, the bond created, is one of life’s greatest gifts. For most of us, being a part of a high school sports team is one of the best and unitive experiences of our life because we feel like we belong to something. We trust each other as teammates and as friends and we have each other’s backs.
Participating in the military is the exact same thing, only sometimes this bond can be deeper because your life is literally on the line and the person standing next to you literally is in charge of looking out for it. Giving a challenge coin can invoke these memories anew and inspire veterans to continue living into loyalty in new ways.
Bridge the gap between then and now. For a veteran, spending only a few weeks living “civilian life” after living life in the war, whether active or inactive, can seem like an eternity or a decade. Days may pass in reality, but to veterans it may seem like years. Giving the gift of a challenge coin can be a great way of letting a veteran known that their “distant past” is still very much a part of their present. While they may have changed and time may have changed their physical surroundings, nothing can change their past experience. It is still special and significant and it is important to remember that period of their lives.
Saying thank you. Giving the gift of a challenge coin is also a great way to say thank you and one of the best ways to honor a former veteran. It is another way of saying, job well done. We appreciate you. We see you. We hear you. We are grateful for you and for all that you have done for us and for our country. The best part is that even after you have given the challenge coin and after you have said these words the challenge coin continues to live on in their pockets, in the hearts and in their minds when everything is beginning to fade. Challenge coins are made to last.