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The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 46, November 15, 2009, Article 15

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S CHALLENGE COINS

An E-Sylum reader pointed out a story on President Obama's Challenge Coin this week. I compiled some relevant images and article excerpts. Like President Bush before him, Obama has a supply of personal Challenge Coins at his disposal to give as souvenirs to members of the armed forces and other people he meets. In September he gave one to a high school student who introduced him as a speaker. This week, he used them on much more solemn occasions at Arlington Cemetery and Ft. Hood, Texas. -Editor

Challenge Coin
Front and back of the Presidential Coin. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Timothy Spicer and Obama When I met President Obama we were at Wakefield behind the stage -- to the right of the stage -- and we're standing back stage and we're waiting for President Obama to come up and we're watching the monitor. First Secretary Arne Duncan comes up and I'm talking to him for a while. Then President Obama jogs up the steps and he's like, "Where's Tim Spicer?" and then he hands me this "challenge coin."

A challenge coin is what they give to certain individuals that have met the president or the president gives one to the students. I guess it's a challenge to see how you won't quit on your country or a challenge to you to succeed in your country. On the challenge coin, it had his name engraved in it, it said "the 44th president" and on the back it had the White House.

He asked me about college, what sports I played. Then after that he talked about how we go on stage, how he'd shake my hand and basically the protocol of how we'd go out.

Actually President Obama took all of my nerves away when I was nervous. He was so calm and relaxed that I just felt comfortable introducing President Obama.

To read the complete article, see: Wakefield High Senior Class President Introduces President Obama (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/speakout
/us/july-dec09/timothy_09-14.html)

Arlington Cemetery Challenge Coin President Obama places a presidential challenge coin at the grave of Specialist Ross McGinnis who was killed in Iraq.

To read the complete article, see: President Obama Visits Arlington National Cemetery (whitehouse.blogs.foxnews.com/2009/11/11/
president-obama-visits-arlington-national-cemetery/)



Challenge Coins at Ft Hood U.S. President Barack Obama places challenge coins on the memorials of victims of the November 5 shooting in Fort Hood, Texas, as first lady Michelle Obama accompanies him November 10, 2009.

To read the original article, see: Fort Hood Shooting






Curious, I wrote to Dick Doty at the Smithsonian asking, "Does the White House give the National Numismatic Collection examples of the Presidential Challenge Coins? I'm curious to see what a set of them looks like. Who started the tradition? Do we know who makes them and how many are struck?

Unfortunately, I learned that the Smithsonian does not have any of these in their collection, nor was Dick aware of their existence. We rectified the latter, but the former is a shame - these are important and ought to be properly preserved and documented. -Editor


Wayne Homren, Editor

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To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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