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Dollars to embody flesh and blood

When you think of World War I, what do you think of?

Perhaps the Peace dollar comes to mind.

It was a design to mark the end of fighting.

It was introduced in 1921, three years after the Nov. 11, 1918, Armistice.

Perhaps you read Barbara Tuchman’s “Guns of August” in your younger years as I did.

I think of my grandfathers when I think of World War I.

Both served in France fighting the Kaiser.

Both returned home.

One had been wounded.

I still have the Krupp shrapnel and the Purple Heart from my Grandfather Harper.

I also have a photo of the U.S.S. Manchuria, the ship he returned home on.

For me, I have a flesh and blood connection to the War to End All Wars.

Obviously the hope implied by that name did not materialize in the past 100 years.

On Oct. 9, the U.S. Mint will unveil the designs of the World War I centennial silver dollar to be issued in 2018.

The obverse and reverse artwork was chosen from submissions in a design competition.

I will certainly be watching to see if I think the designs are worthy of my grandfathers.

October 9 is opening day of the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Gathered there for the 12:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time ceremony will be several dignitaries.

Three names given by the Mint are Thomas Johnson, Chief of Corporate Communications, United States Mint; Ryan McCarthy, Under Secretary of the Army; and Col. Robert J. Dalessandro, USA (Ret.), Chairman, U.S. World War I Centennial Commission.

Naturally, there will be a $10 surcharge on the silver dollar to raise money.

Recipient organization is the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission.

The funds so raised are to be used to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.

What will other descendants of World War I veterans think of the new coin?

That is the critical question.

This human dimension is what is most important.

We will hear a lot about the Allies versus the Central Powers.

We should.

We will hear about America’s insistence on Freedom of the Seas.

We should.

We will hear about President Woodrow Wilson and Gen. John J. Pershing.

We should.

“Lafayette we are here” said by Pershing on his arrival in France ties the war to the very founding of the Republic and our first ally, France.

I am sure there will be a lot of discussions about history’s lessons.

There should be.

But it is the flesh and blood sacrifices of American soldiers on the battlefield that must be remembered most of all.

When the call came, they answered.

Will these new dollars adequately represent this human sacrifice for my freedom and for yours?

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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