A total of 44 proposed obverse and 38 reverse designs for three congressional gold medals honoring those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were reviewed May 15 by the Commission of Fine Arts.
Gold medals are authorized under the Fallen Heroes of 9/11 Act, Public Law 112-76, to recognize those who perished from the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Virginia and the crash of United Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pa.
CFA members reviewed 18 obverse and 12 reverse designs for the New York medal; 13 obverse and 15 reverse designs for the Pennsylvania medal; and 13 obverse and 11 reverse sketches for the Virginia medal.
Bronze duplicates of the medals will be offered for sale to the public by the U.S. Mint.
The CFA's recommendations, plus narrative descriptions of the designs, follow:
➤ New York — Obverse: The abstract lines flowing downward symbolize loss while the lines moving upward represent rising above, hope, and deliverance from that loss. This configuration also suggests the Twin Towers. The numbers 93, 77, 175, and 11 represent the four planes involved in the tragic events of 9/11 and are positioned as if on a clock, representing the times of the crashes. The words “Always Remember” are set upon a stone wall similar to the wall that bears the names of the victims at the memorial. The CFA recommends removing the rose. Reverse: This design features a single rose protruding from an edge at the top, an echo of the memorial in New York where a white rose is placed through the name of each victim on his or her birthday. The inscription reads, “Time cannot erase the memory of 2753 innocent people from more than 90 countries, lost at the World Trade Center in the attacks that shook the world on September 11, 2001. May their memory inspire an end to intolerance.” The design also features a bald eagle standing sentinel and clasping branches of laurel signifying an eternal honoring of those who perished in the tragedies. The CFA recommends removing one rose and one of the two commas.
➤ Virginia — Obverse: Recommended design shows the rebuilt façade of the Pentagon where Flight 77 crashed. The angle of view is the angle of the flight path. A single candle and a small bouquet signify a sacred memorial at the site. The American flag flies overhead in a united and patriotic wave. The CFA recommends removing the plants around the Pentagon. Reverse: Design features 184 stars on a raised border around the edge of the design, one star for each of the victims of the tragedy. The inscription reads, “We honor the passengers and crew of Flight 77, those in the military who sacrifice for our freedom, and all who perished at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. We will never forget.” The design also features a bald eagle standing sentinel and clasping branches of laurel signifying an eternal honoring of those who perished in the tragedies.
➤ Pennsylvania — Obverse: Features the hemlock groves behind the memorial boulder at the Flight 93 Memorial, a simple reminder of loss and healing. Originally submitted as reverse design. CFA recommends removing the date. Reverse: Design features 40 stars on a raised border around the edge of the design, one star for each victim. The inscription reads, “We honor the passengers and crew of Flight 93 who perished in a Pennsylvania field on September 11, 2001. Their courageous action will be remembered forever.” The design also features a bald eagle standing sentinel and clasping branches of laurel, signifying an eternal honoring of those who perished in the tragedies.
The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee is scheduled to review the same proposed designs at its noon Eastern Time May 19 meeting at the Omni Hotel at Independence Park, 401 Chestnut St., in Philadelphia.