A 9/11 Tribute as Collectible

Commemorative Coin Lauds Heroes

Posted September 10, 2008 at 6:45pm

Ron Sarasin believes that United Flight 93 was bound for the Capitol when it crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pa., seven years ago.

That’s why the president of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society has announced that the group will issue a commemorative coin honoring the courage of the passengers of that flight who helped divert the plane.

Precision Etchings and Findings of Warwick, R.I., designed the coin to feature the plane flying over the Capitol.

The society originally wanted to contribute a plaque but found that one is already in place in the Capitol Visitor Center. Sarasin, a former Republican Congressman from Connecticut, said he expects coin collectors and supporters of the USCHS to be most interested in the coin.

All proceeds from sales of the $18 coin will benefit the Flight 93 National Memorial. The idea of donating the proceeds to the memorial in Pennsylvania came after the USCHS board had decided to make the coin.

“It just seemed that there should be a different use for the proceeds than simply providing it for our support, and it seemed a more fitting way to do that would be to provide the proceeds for the Shanksville memorial,” Sarasin said.

Congress passed a bill authorizing the memorial a year after the attacks.

The National Park Service, Families of Flight 93 and other organizations worked together and solicited designs for the site in an international competition. Out of more than 1,000 entrants, Los Angeles architect Paul Murdoch won the competition in 2005.

Since then, according to Families of Flight 93 spokesman Bill Hayworth, the partner organizations have been negotiating to acquire land around the site and privately raising $30 million to supplement contributions from both the federal and Pennsylvania state governments. Hayworth said $15 million has been raised so far.

Organizers hope to complete the memorial’s first phase, primarily the “sacred ground plaza” that overlooks the crash site, by Sept. 11, 2011. Later phases will add the memorial itself, a visitor center and roadwork.