I find the proposed legislation, HR 3549, to strike commemorative coins to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attack to be highly objectionable.
But if Congress is going to move forward with such a coin program anyway, I would suggest they make it a series much like the 50 states Qquarters program. We could call it the “Humiliation of America” coin series, beginning with a coin struck to celebrate the burning of the U.S. Capital and White House by the British in the War of 1812.
This could be followed by a coin to celebrate the extermination of the 7th Calvary under George Custer. A coin for the destruction of the USS Maine, a coin to recognize the achievements of the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, even a coin with co-joined busts of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols to celebrate their murderous attack on the Federal building in Oklahoma City.
For the final coin in the series marking the WTC attack, the Mint could include a certificate of authenticity in Arabic since terrorists everywhere will be sure to want one for their collection.
A far more appropriate commemorative would be one struck to recognize the dedication of the rebuilt World Trade Center towers. Unfortunately, mistakes made immediately after 9/11 have so far prevented that from becoming a reality.
Instead of the Federal government taking over the site via eminent domain or other legal mechanisms in the days following 9/11, the whole affair has been tossed to the locals in New York. As a result, the city, the port authority, and every other two-bit government entity has stuck their nose in the matter and absolutely nothing has been accomplished.
Nine plus years after the attack and the site remains as nothing more than a hole in the ground. It makes me wonder where this country would be today if in January of 1951 – nine plus years after the attack – Pearl Harbor looked essentially the same as the day the Japanese leveled it.
I am beginning to wonder if the WTC attacks are going to be something we never recover from, much like the sinking of the Spanish Armada was for Spain.
Imagine if the United States showed the determination to rebuild the towers as a pair of buildings essentially identical to the originals, only 9 feet and 11 inches taller to accommodate the names of the victims who perished in the attack. Can you imagine how many commemorative coins would be sold to recognize the dedication? Hands down it would be the best selling coin the U.S. Mint has ever ever produced.
Instead, we are going to get a coin with a legend saying “Always Remember,” when so far all indications are the legend should say “We Will Never Get Over It.”
Until the site of the attack is rehabilitated, there is little chance for closure for the families who suffered the loss of loved ones in the attack, and to strike coins at this juncture in history is an insult to the sacrifices made by those who perished.
Bruce Walker is a collector in Kansas City, Mo.
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