US Coins

Two gold medal bills receive congressional approval

The House passed two Senate bills Jan. 19 for congressional gold medals, and the measures move forward for President Biden’s consideration.

S. 452, introduced in the Senate Feb. 25, 2021, by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and passed in the Senate July 27, authorizes production and presentation of a congressional gold medal to Willie O’Ree, the first Black hockey player to play in the National Hockey League in 1958.

O’Ree played his first NHL game at the age of 22, for the Boston Bruins, and spent 22 years in the NHL. O’Ree spent his entire professional career with only one eye, having been blinded in his right eye with a puck while playing amateur hockey.

The second bill, S. 1404, authorizes a congressional gold medal recognizing the exploits of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops and the 3133rd Signal Service Company, the “Ghost Army,” for “their unique and highly distinguished service” in conducting deception operations during World War II. The units deployed hundreds of inflatable tanks, half-tracks, artillery and other ploys to trick Axis troops into believing Allied troops had more equipment at their disposal than was the case.

S. 1404, introduced in the Senate April 28, 2021, by Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass, passed Dec. 15 in the Senate.

If the bills become law, the Treasury secretary has the discretion to direct the U.S. Mint to strike for public sale 1.5-inch and 3-inch bronze duplicates of the gold medals.

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