In just a few days, the nation will once again face the terrible memory of the devastating terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the most painful episode in American history.
The day’s terror began at 8:46 am when a highjacked American Airlines airplane flew into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. A highjacked United Airlines flight crashed into the South Tower a few minutes later. Both towers collapsed, resulting in the deaths of about 3,000 people.
Meanwhile, another American Airlines airplane crashed into the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., and another United Airlines airplane crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The fourth airplane was reportedly headed to Washington, D.C., where the likely target was the U.S. Capitol or the White House, until heroic passengers caused it to crash short of its target.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, people across the nation and around the world came together to remember and honor those who perished in the attacks. The World Trade Center became the site of the stirring National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the establishment of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the United States Mint produced the September 11 National Medal. Struck in one ounce of silver, the medal was authorized by Congress and was produced in a limited edition only in the 10th anniversary year of 2011.
All medals were made as proofs – the highest quality possible from the U.S. Mint – and were struck to the same specifications and using the same coining equipment as U.S. coins.
The obverse of the 9/11 medal depicts Liberty holding the Lamp of Remembrance, with two beacons of light stretching skyward to symbolize the Word Trade Center towers. Also included are the inscription “Always Remember” and the anniversary dates “2001-2011.” The reverse features an eagle – the emblem of the United States and a powerful representation of the strength of the survivors. Flowing water in the background is emblematic of peace, serenity, and healing; it also suggests the flowing water in the sculptures at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
Today, five years after it was issued, it can be almost impossible to find even a single September 11 National Medal – and they will surely become even harder to find in future years. In addition to the silver medal and 24-karat gold-plated editions, the medal is also highly sought-after in a pendant that can be worn as a reminder of the sacrifices of those who perished in 2001.