At a ceremony held today, three Congressional Gold Medals were awarded in honor of the men and women who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. The medals, which were authorized under Public Law 112-76, honor the fallen heroes of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight 93 in rural Pennsylvania.
The United States Mint had initially prepared from ten to fifteen different design candidates for the obverse and reverse of each medal. These were reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) in May 2014. The Secretary of the Treasury had the authority to select the final designs.
The World Trade Center medal carries an abstract representation of the two towers. The abstract lines flowing downward symbolize loss, while the lines moving upward represent rising above, hope, and deliverance from that loss. The numbers 93, 77, 175, and 11 represent the four planes involved in the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and are positioned as if on a clock representing the times of the crashes. The words “Always Remember” with a single rose are set upon a stone wall similar to the wall that bears the names of the victims at the memorial.
The reverse design features a single rose at the top followed by the inscription: “We honor the thousands of 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.” A bald eagle standing sentinel and clasping branches of laurel complete the design.
The obverse was designed by Joel Iskowitz and engraved by Jim Licaretz. The reverse was designed and engraved by Phebe Hemphill.
The Pentagon medal obverse carries a depiction of the rebuilt facade of the Pentagon where Flight 77 crashed. The angle of the view matches the angle of the flight path. A single candle and small bouquet of flowers signify a sacred memorial at the site. The American flag flies overhead.
The reverse carries 184 stars within a raised border, one star for each victim of the tragedy. An inscription reads “We honor those on Flight 77 and those in the Pentagon who perished on September 11, 2001. We will never forget their sacrifice as we unite in memory.” At the base is the image of a bald eagle standing sentinel and clasping laurel with an aerial view of the Pentagon.
The obverse and reverse were designed and engraved by Phebe Hemphill.
The Flight 93 medal features the hemlock groves behind the boulder at the Flight 93 Memorial as a simple reminder of loss and healing. An inscription above reads “A common field one day, a field of honor forever”.
The reverse contains 40 stars on a raised border, 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.” Once again the design includes a bald eagle standing sentinel and clasping laurel. An image of the U.S. Capitol building is included.
The obverse was designed and engraved by Joseph Menna, while the reverse was designed and engraved by Phebe Hemphill.
The United States Mint has made available for sale bronze duplicate versions of the three Congressional Gold Medals. The 3-inch medals are priced at $39.95 each.