Men and women who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were posthumously honored Wednesday with the presentation of three Congressional Gold Medals.
Authorized under the Fallen Heroes of 9/11 Act, Public Law 112-76, each bears a unique design honoring the remembered fallen at the World Trade Center in New York, at the Pentagon in Virginia, and from Flight 93 in rural Pennsylvania. The United States Mint also struck bronze replicas of the medals for the public.
Wednesday’s Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony was held at Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. (Watch the C-SPAN video of ceremony).
"All that we Americans are and all we will ever be, we owe to the fallen heroes of 9/11," stated Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner during the ceremony. "That day was made up of many sacrifices from which emerged one spirit, a unity embodied in the medal we entrust today to each member."
The Fallen Heroes of 9/11 Act directed the Secretary of the Treasury, and thereby the United States Mint, to strike medals with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions emblematic of the three locations now forever associated with September 11. Design candidates were made public and reviewed earlier this year. From those candidates, the following designs were chosen for use on the Congressional Gold Medals:
World Trade Center Congressional Gold Medal
This medal’s obverse features an abstract representation of two towers with lines flowing downward meant to symbolize loss while the lines moving upward represent rising above, hope, and deliverance from that loss.
Inscriptions of 93, 77, 175, and 11 represent the four planes involved in the attacks of 9/11. Those numbers are also positioned as if on a clock and represent 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 reverse offers 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.
An inscription below the rose reads: 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. To the left and below is a bald eagle standing sentinel and clasping branches of laurel signifying an eternal honoring of those who perished in the tragedies.
United State Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Joel Iskowitz created the obverse design for the New York medal. It was executed by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Jim Licaretz. United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill designed and executed the reverse.
Pentagon Congressional Gold Medal
Shown from the perspective of Flight 77, the obverse of the Pentagon medal depicts the rebuilt facade of the structure. A single candle and a small bouquet of flowers and greens signify a sacred memorial at the site. Above the Pentagon, an American Flag is seen with ACT OF CONGRESS 2011 inscribed below.
The reverse features 184 stars on a raised border around the edge of the design, one star for each of the victims of the tragedy. Words within read: 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. Also, to the left and below is a bald eagle standing sentinel and clasping branches of laurel signifying an eternal honoring of those who perished in the tragedies.
Phebe Hemphill designed and sculpted the Pentagon medal obverse and reverse.
Flight 93 Congressional Gold Medal
The medal’s obverse features the hemlock groves behind the boulder at the Flight 93 Memorial, a simple reminder of loss and healing. A COMMON FIELD ONE DAY, A FIELD OF HONOR FOREVER is inscribed above with ACT OF CONGRESS 2011 found below.
Found on the reverse are 40 stars reminding us of the forty victims of Flight 93. Words within read: WE HONOR THE PASSENGERS AND CREW OF FLIGHT 93 WHO PERISHED ON A PENNSYLVANIA FIELD ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001. THEIR COURAGEOUS ACTION WILL BE REMEMBERED FOREVER. Once again, to the left and below is a bald eagle standing sentinel and clasping branches of laurel signifying an eternal honoring of those who perished in the tragedies.
The obverse was designed and executed by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna. The reverse was designed and executed by Phebe Hemphill.
Fallen Heroes of 9/11 Bronze Medal Replicas
Three-inch bronze medal replicas of the Fallen Heroes of 9/11 Congressional Gold Medals have been made available for purchase from the United States Mint. They may be ordered directly from the Mint via its online catalog located here, or by calling 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).