US Coins

Bill seeks Purple Heart Hall of Honor coins

Construction of a new building and renovation of the existing National Purple Heart Hall of Honor facilities would both be funded by surcharges from a new commemorative coin bill, if legislation pending in Congress is approved.

H.R. 3867, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act, was introduced Jan. 14 by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y.

The bill seeks a maximum of 50,000 gold $5 coins, 400,000 silver dollars and 750,000 copper-nickel clad half dollars be struck for one year beginning Jan. 1, 2017.

The legislation states the design of the coins would be emblematic of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.

Designs would be selected by the Treasury secretary after consultation with the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Inc., and after the designs are reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.

The commemorative coins would be struck in Proof and Uncirculated versions, and only produced at the West Point Mint.

Surcharges of $35 per $5 coin; $10 per silver dollar; and $5 per half dollar would be paid to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, Inc., once all the costs of the program are recouped by the U.S. Mint as federal coinage law mandates.

Purple Heart Hall of Honor

The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor opened Nov. 10, 2006, in New Windsor, N.Y., at the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site.

The site is where Gen. George Washington’s army camped during the Revolutionary War and where he first awarded the Badge of Military Merit, a piece of purple cloth that became the model for the Purple Heart.

The facility is located 60 miles north of Manhattan and 10 miles north of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

According to the legislation, the hall is the first facility to recognize the more than 1.7 million U.S. service members wounded or killed in action from the American Revolutionary War to the present day. The hall is intended to serve as a living memorial to their sacrifice by sharing their stories through interviews, exhibits, and the Roll of Honor, an interactive computer database of each recipient.

The bill was referred to the House Financial Services Committee.

Other legislation

There may be a bit of gold in Pat Summitt’s future if Congress approves legislation seeking a congressional gold medal for the legendary women’s basketball head coach emeritus at the University of Tennessee.

Two identical bills were introduced Jan. 9 in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

H. R. 3836 was introduced by Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Tenn., and S. 1910 was introduced by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

The House bill was referred to the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate bill to the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee in the Senate.

H.R. 3836 was co-sponsored by the entire Tennessee delegation in the House.

Summitt announced Aug. 23, 2011, that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, a type of Alzheimer’s disease. On April 18, 2012, she retired from coaching after 38 seasons at the university and was named head coach emeritus to mentor and teach life skills to players.

Summitt has “more wins than any basketball coach in NCAA history, men or women,” according to the legislation. She won a record eight NCAA championships and received the national Coach of the Year honor seven times over her career.

The medal would recognize Summitt’s “remarkable career as an unparalleled figure in women’s team sports, and for her courage in speaking out openly and courageously about her battle with Alzheimer’s.”

Both bills seeking a gold medal for Summitt would authorize the striking of bronze duplicates for sale to the public. ¦

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