At a ceremony held in Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, 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 three medals were prepared and struck by the United States Mint and bear unique designs for the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight 93 in rural Pennsylvania.
The medals were authorized under Public Law 112-76, which was signed into law on December 23, 2011. The legislation provides that following the award of the medals they shall be given to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, the Pentagon Memorial at the Pentagon, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania for permanent appropriate display.
The obverse design of the World Trade Center Congressional Gold Medal features an abstract representation of 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 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 reverse features a single rose 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: “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.” The design also includes a bald eagle standing sentinel and clasping branches of laurel signifying an eternal honoring of those who perished in the tragedies.
The obverse of the medal was designed by Artistic Infusion Program artist Joel Iskowitz and executed by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Jim Licaretz. The reverse was designed and executed by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.
The obverse of the Pentagon Congressional Gold Medal features a depiction of the rebuilt facade 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 of flowers and greens signify a sacred memorial at the site, while an American flag flies overhead.
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. The 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.” 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.
Both the obverse and reverse were designed by executed by Phebe Hemphill.
The obverse of the Flight 93 Congressional Gold Medal features the hemlock groves behind the boulder at the Flight 93 Memorial, a simple reminder of loss and healing. An inscription above reads: “A common field one day, a field of honor forever.”
The reverse 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 obverse was designed and executed by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna, while the reverse was designed and executed by Phebe Hemphill.
The authorizing legislation provides that duplicate bronze versions of the 9/11 Congressional Gold Medals may be struck and sold to the public. The United States Mint has made available for sale 3-inch bronze versions of the medals, priced at $39.95 each.