This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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A new medal will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
Made of 1 ounce silver, it will carry the words “Always Remember” and the years 2001-2011. The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts reviewed 10 obverse and 16 reverse designs for the medal on Feb. 17.
“The commission members liked obverse No. 10 for its mix of classical and modern alternatives,” said Thomas Luebke, CFA secretary. Its mix of strength and simplicity was favored by the CFA.
The design, which features a young woman extending a flame upward, also shows two beams of light in the background and a circle around the flame. Luebke said the CFA suggested those two elements be eliminated.
Luebke said obverse No. 8 and No. 9, which were also classical depictions, garnered some interest from commission members.
Reverse No. 16 was felt to be a good complement to the obverse selected, Luebke said. It features an eagle, rippling water and a quote from Virgil’s “Aeneid”: “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”
CFA did ask that the coloration difference in the rippling water either be eliminated or made more gradual.
Scroll down for a gallery of images.
Design Talking Points
CFA & CCAC presentations
February 17 and March 1, 2011
September 11 National Medal
Public Law 111-221, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum Commemorative Medal Act of 2010, requires the Secretary of the Treasury to strike medals in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States and the establishment of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center.
On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, VA, and in a thwarted attack and subsequent plane crash in Shanksville, PA. Hundreds of courageous first responders risked their lives to save others and many perished while performing their sworn duty. In the aftermath of the attacks, people around the world came together to remember and honor those who perished in the attacks.
Obverse design theme: Honoring and Remembering
Required inscriptions: 2001-2011 and Always Remember
NSM-O-01: Swamp White Oak leaves float on the surface of a reflecting pool which reflects two empty streams of light symbolizing the disaster of September 11 and mirroring the theme of the memorial – "reflecting absence." Three leaves in the act of falling are featured in the upper field symbolizing the three primary sites of the disaster.
Swamp White Oak trees are used in the grove of nearly 400 trees that are part of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.
NSM-O-02: Two Swamp White Oak leaves represent the Twin Towers while three acorns represent the three attack sites.
NSM-O-03: Two tridents are depicted reaching for the sky with ten oak leaves representing the ten years that have passed.
A pair of seven-story steel tridents, part of the original façade of the Twin Towers, were removed from the World Trade Center site and are being installed at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.
NSM-O-04: This design depicts a partial view of a Memorial pool at the National September 11 Memorial with Swamp White Oak trees rising in the background.
Central to the Memorial design are two acre-sized pools sitting on the footprints of the original Twin Towers. The pools will be filled with 30-foot waterfalls to create a reflective environment separate from the city.
NSM-O-05: The vantage point of this design is from the bottom of the Memorial pools looking up at the trident structures. The steps represent the “Survivors’ Staircase” and symbolize the many that found their way to safety by descending and the many who lost their lives by ascending in rescue. The four flight numbers are as if they are on a clock face, positioned at the time of their fateful crashes.
NSM-O-06: All three sites are visually represented in this design. A pentagon forms the border; the flag inside represents the makeshift memorial at Shanksville honoring Flight 93 and the World Trade Center towers are memorialized as the two vertical bars.
NSM-O-07: Variation on design 06. All three sites are visually represented in this design. A pentagon forms the border; the flag inside represents the makeshift memorial at Shanksville honoring Flight 93 and the World Trade Center towers are represented as two building footprints.
NSM-O-08: The single figure represents America in mourning as the sun sets after the events of September 11. Her outstretched hand holds a laurel branch honoring the bravery of the American people while her right hand holds an extinguished torch, symbolizing the loss of life.
NSM-O-09: The figure of Liberty with a wreath of olive leaves in her hair holds high the Lamp of Remembrance. Behind is the shape of the Twin Towers. Oak and maple leaves from the trees at each of the Memorials are seen behind the figure.
NSM-O-10: Variation on design 09.
Reverse design theme: Looking to the Future, Hope, and Rebirth
No required inscriptions
NSM-R-01: The design features Swamp White Oak sprigs symbolizing rebirth as they emerge from a tree stump – a symbol of a life cut short. The image calls to mind the Survivor Tree. The inscription reads Endurance, Hope and Resilience.
NSM-R-02: A depiction of the Survivor Tree with new life just beginning to spring forth. The inscription reads Endurance, Hope, and Resilience.
NSM-R-03: The design features an overhead depiction of Swamp White Oak sprigs symbolizing rebirth as they emerge from a tree stump – a symbol of a life cut short. The three acorns represent the three attack sites. The inscription reads a quote from Virgil’s Aeneid, “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”
This quote is an integral part of the National September 11 Museum. It will be written on the wall that visitors first see when they descend into the museum.
NSM-R-04: This design depicts the Survivor Tree on a bell. The bell is inspired by the Bell of Hope at St. Paul’s Chapel. The inscription along the rim reads Endurance, Hope and Resilience, and across the bell, “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”
NSM-R-05: In this design, the Swamp White Oak seedling symbolizes hope and rebirth. The oak is a symbol of strength and steadfastness in times of persecution. The fountain wall and diamond-shaped disappearing fountain call to mind the Memorial site. The seedling contains three acorns to represent the three attack sites. The inscriptions are Hope and Rebirth.
NSM-R-06: Virgil’s quote is placed between a living Swamp White Oak branch and a lit Torch symbolizing the eternal continuation of life, and that those who were lost on September 11, 2001 are not forgotten. The inscription reads “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”
NSM-R-07: The two columns of water call to mind the Twin Towers with three Swamp White Oak leaves representing the three attack sites. The elements are in motion to suggest the events of the day commemorated as well as to suggest the dynamic resilience of those who survived. The hand catching the water symbolizes future generations drawing upon the lessons of this horrific day in order to prevent any such tragedy from occurring again. The inscription reads “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”
NSM-R-08: A spray of Swamp White Oak, Red Maple and Sugar Maple leaves with three acorns held in an open hand symbolize strength and rebirth. The footprints of the Twin Towers are visible in the background. The inscription reads Hope, Honor and Rebirth.
NSM-R-09: This design depicts the tridents in the foreground with a Swamp White Oak leaf having just fallen on a body of water leaving a ripple with a grove of trees is in the background. The inscription reads Endurance, Resilience and Resolve.
NSM-R-10: An acorn sprouts into a small Swamp White Oak tree in front of two tridents. The roots of the new plant are wrapped around the tridents, remembering and growing from the supports that were part of the World Trade Center.
NSM-R-11: The background design elements symbolize the destruction that took place on September 11. The two tridents symbolize the inspiring message of hope and rebirth. The row of human figures symbolize the resolve of all those who survived as well as ourselves, as we affirm the triumph of human dignity over depravity. The four stars represent the four attacks.
NSM-R-12: The fallen figure represents America on September 11, 2001, always in the memory of the new America rising by its side holding the torch of life. The inscription reads “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”
NSM-R-13: The internal shapes of the phoenix are emblematic of the fractured lives, but the movement is strongly upward – rising again. The inscription reads Endurance, Hope and Resilience.
NSM-R-14: Variation of design 13. This design depicts the phoenix reborn. This phoenix symbolizes strength and resilience. The inscription reads Endurance, Hope and Resilience.
NSM-R-15: The background design depicts falling water, reminiscent of the waterfalls at the Memorial. The eagle symbolizes the strength of the survivors and of all Americans. The inscription reads Honor and Hope.
NSM-R-16: The background design depicts falling water, reminiscent of the waterfalls at the Memorial. The eagle symbolizes the strength of the survivors and of all Americans. The inscription reads “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”