The new official U.S. Mint medal commemorating the September 11, 2001 terror attacks has gone on sale. Some of the proceeds will be used to help fund the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum near the former World Trade Center site in New York. Kudos to the U.S. Mint's Donna Weaver and Phebe Hemphill. for an inspired obverse design. The flame of Lady Liberty's "Lamp of Remembrance" recalls the flames seen from the World Trade Center towers that fateful morning.
This effect is more obvious in the image of the struck medal than the original artwork unveiled earlier.
The only official medal commemorating the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks went on sale Monday. The medal's final design was unveiled by U.S. Treasurer Rosa Rios during a press conference at the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site near the World Trade Center site in New York.
"The medal we present to the American public today has been created by the United States Mint to commemorate September 11th, 2001," Ms. Rios said, "a day that changed our nation and our world forever."
The medal costs $56.95. Ten dollars from the sale of each one will go directly to the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum. If all two million medals sell out, that will generate $20 million dollars to help pay for the memorial and museum's day to day operations.
"Maintaining this place costs money. The landscaping, the maintenance, the security, the visitor's services," National 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels lists some of the things the medal will help fund. "Everything you think in a large institution that's going to have 5 million visitors, it costs something to run it."
The Memorial is set to open to the public on September 12th, 2011. The Museum is expected to open sometime in 2012.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., wants to make sure people who want keepsake coins are spending their money in the right place.
"If you waste your money on some bogus thing," Nadler says, "it goes to some fly-by-night operator, it doesn't go to the museum."
Earlier this year, Rep. Nadler and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., urged the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on "The National Collector's Mint," a company which sells commemorative coins with a television commercial that claims the coins are made with silver "actually recovered from beneath the ashes of Ground Zero."
"The FTC did investigate," says Nadler. "They issued a very strong warning as to what they had better not do or risk prosecution and we'll see what happens now."
In a statement, The National Collector's Mint stands by its claims.
While I don't like all the products of the National Collector's Mint, I have to agree with their statement that " there is a marketplace for both private and government-issued commemoratives." The firm has every right to make and sell the product, just as each of us has the right the decide for ourselves whether we wish to buy it. But the U.S. Mint was also right to criticize the firm's marketing practices, which danced in the grey area, implying but never quite exactly stating that the item they're selling is a legitimate U.S. Mint product.
I don't run out and buy most U.S. Mint products either, but this is one I wouldn't mind having.
I visited the World Trade Center complex many times and watched helplessly with the rest of the world as the second plane hit its target, knowing instantly that the world had changed. At the time I was working on the 31st floor of another office tower in Pittsburgh. I learned later that another hijacked plane was in the air near Pittsburgh - this was the one destined for Washington D.C. The passengers of that flight knew they were goners, but they fought back and forced the plane to crash near Shanksville, PA.
Like the troops at Pearl Harbor who dropped whatever they were doing that Sunday morning to fight the surprise attack, they became instant heroes. Only these weren't soldiers or sailors - they were ordinary people going about their ordinary business on an ordinary day, just like the people caught in the attacks in New York and at the Pentagon. But they weren't entirely helpless, and their response was extraordinary. With no weapons but their fists and whatever objects they could find, they struck back, and what they started that day was finished nearly a decade later by the professionals of Navy Seal Team 6.
But the fight goes on, and the world is still a changed place. That's what history does - changes things, sometimes forever. My kids will never know a world without airport metal detectors and baggage checks, public buildings without a perimeter of concrete barriers, or where cars can drive freely down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of The White House.
History turns observers into old people who remember the Good Old Days. I remember touring D.C. and walking up the steps of the U.S. Capitol building and entering the Rotunda - no checkpoints, no guards, no metal detectors, no nothing - just freedom. Now all I can do is tell my children stories about how life was different back then. Not that they'll listen for long.
Joe Boling adds:
Maybe the Mint will bring the 9/11 medals to Chicago. I was most disappointed that they did not bring the Medal of Honor coins to Sacramento - ordering had opened, but they claimed that the ship date had not yet arrived - they did not even bring "not for sale" examples. Another bullet through the foot.
To read the complete article, see:
Rise of Freedom: The Mint Makes Change at Ground Zero
To read the earlier E-Sylum item, see:
U.S. MINT PRODUCES MEDALS FOR 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF SEPTEMBER 11
Wayne Homren, Editor
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