On September 20, Friends of the National World War II Memorial and the United States Mint unveiled the designs of the Greatest Generation Commemorative Coins at a ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C..
With designs showcasing the Memorial’s Wall of Stars and a reimagining of the figure of Liberation from the World War II Victory Medal, the commemorative coins will serve as an important representation of the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the brave Americans who fought to defend the nation and advance peace and freedom throughout the world. Authorized by Public Law 117-162, sales of the three-coin set include surcharges – $35 for each $5 gold coin sold; $10 for each silver dollar sold; and $5 for each half dollar sold – authorized to support maintenance and repairs of the Memorial, as well as for commemorative and educational programming.
$5 Gold Coin Obverse
- Designer: Heidi Wastweet
- Medallic Artist: Eric David Custer
The obverse design features a section of the Wall of Stars at the World War II Memorial with an olive branch. Each star on the wall represents 100 Americans who lost their lives in the war, and the olive branch represents the peace that followed thanks to their sacrifice. The inscriptions are “LIBERTY,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” “2024,” and “WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL.”
$5 Gold Coin Reverse
- Designer: Ben Sowards
- Medallic Artist: Joseph Menna
The reverse design shows a folded American flag, such as one that would be presented at the funeral of a fallen service member. The inscriptions include “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “WWII MEMORIAL,” “TO UNITE THE GENERATIONS OF TOMORROW,” and “FIVE DOLLARS.”
$1 Silver Coin Obverse
- Designer: Beth Zaiken
- Medallic Artist: Phebe Hemphill
The design features six figures working together to support the Earth, illustrating the cooperation of each of the military branches (Army Air Forces, Coast Guard, Navy, Army, and Marine Corps), as well as the Merchant Marine during World War II. The inscriptions are “1941-1945,” “WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL,” “DEFENDERS OF FREEDOM,” “LIBERTY,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” and “2024.”
$1 Silver Coin Reverse
- Designer: Ben Sowards
- Medallic Artist: Renata Gordon
The reverse design features a view from beneath a baldacchino, a sculptural canopy inside a Victory Pavilion in the World War II Memorial. The sculpture depicts four eagles holding a laurel wreath, within which is a globe centered on the Pacific Ocean. The inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “VICTORY,” “IN THE AIR,” “AT SEA,” “ON LAND,” “WWII MEMORIAL,” and “ONE DOLLAR.”
Half Dollar Clad Coin Obverse
- Designer: Elana Hagler
- Medallic Artist: Craig A. Campbell
The obverse design re-imagines the Victory Medal that was awarded to all who served in the Armed Forces during World War II. The figure of Liberation stands with open arms holding two halves of a broken sword, symbolizing the war’s conclusion. The inscriptions are “LIBERTY,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” “WORLD WAR II,” “2024,” and “WE ANSWERED THE CALL.”
Half Dollar Clad Coin Reverse
- Designer: Matt Swaim
- Medallic Artist: John P. McGraw
The reverse design depicts the World War II Memorial from the point of view of a person walking up a ramp leading to one of the towers. The inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” and “HALF DOLLAR.”
“Friends plays a vital role in educating the American public about World War II as well as facilitating key commemorative programs at the Memorial to pay a fitting tribute to America’s ‘Greatest Generation’,” said Friends chair Jane Droppa. “We pay tribute to those veterans such as Bob Dole who was instrumental in the original fundraising for the memorial. Now, it is our time and turn to ensure this national treasure does not fall into disrepair.”
“The Greatest Generation commemorative coin designs are emblematic of the National World War II Memorial and the service and sacrifice of American soldiers and civilians during World War II,” said United States Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson. “We hope this program will honor their unwavering courage and selfless spirit.”
“The Greatest Generation commemorative coin honors the Memorial, which stands as an important symbol of America’s national unity, a timeless reminder of the moral strength and power that flows when free people are at once united and bonded together in a common and just cause for liberty,” said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH9). “As Americans — as a free people — let us unite to revere, to remember, and to pay tribute to the millions of our fellow citizens who have made the ultimate sacrifice for an ideal… the ideal of liberty for all people… for all of us… and our progeny.”
“As a World War II veteran who lives in the District of Columbia, I’m fortunate enough to be able to visit the memorial as often as I can, which includes nearly all the commemorative ceremonies,” said Harry Miller, a U.S. Army and Air Force veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. “The Memorial has started to show its age and I’m proud that Congress authorized the legislation of the commemorative coins to ensure this beautiful tribute to my generation will live on in perpetuity.”
The National World War II Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C., on May 29, 2004 – the culmination of a 17-year effort, led in Congress by Congresswoman Kaptur, who also authored the Greatest Generation Commemorative Coin Act. The World War II Memorial is the first national Memorial dedicated to all who served during World War II and acknowledges the commitment and achievement of the entire nation. The Memorial honors the 16 million who served in the Armed Forces of the U.S. during World War II, the more than 400,000 who died, and the millions who supported the war effort here at home.
Today, the Memorial is a top destination for millions of annual visitors from all over the country and the world. For many young visitors, their visit to the Memorial is a first glimpse at a grateful nation’s remembrance of the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who fought against tyranny. For WWII veterans, the Memorial is a special destination, a rendezvous point, and a gathering place for reflection, reunions, and commemorative programs. The Memorial stands as an important symbol of America’s national unity, a timeless reminder of the moral strength and power that flows when free people are united and bonded together in a common and just cause for liberty.
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The coins are expected to be on sale in early 2024.
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About Friends of the National World War II Memorial
Friends of the National World War II Memorial, based in Washington, D.C., is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to teaching the lessons of yesterday to unite the generations of tomorrow. Founded in 2007 by the creators of the National World War II Memorial, Friends brings visitors together for national ceremonies and experiences at the Memorial and for online educational programs centered around the themes of American unity, shared values and ideals, and the spirit of community.
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About the United States Mint
The U.S. Mint was created by Congress in 1792 and became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. It is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce.
The United States Mint also produces numismatic products, including Proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. The Mint’s numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers.