Commission shares U.S. Mint WWI coin with key partners
By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission
A few days ago, the U.S. Mint opened sales for their new collective 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar. This new coin was authorized by Congress as a tribute to the American men and women who served during the war. Sales from the coin help support our centennial programs -- so the coin is a tangible way for people across the country to directly participate in America's World War I Centennial.
Since that opening sales day, our Centennial Commission has had the honor of sharing this new silver dollar with a few of our commemorative partners, organizations who help veterans and their families every day, and groups who remember and tell the story of America's sacrifice during World War I.
We value the work that these people do, and are proud to stand by their side in our mission.
Our greatest partner is our Founding Sponsor, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library (PMML). When Congress created our Centennial Commission in 2013, they provided us with no appropriation. As a result, we need private donation to survive.
The Pritzker Library leadership saw this, and through a generous initial grant, they took the incredible step of ensuring that our Centennial Commission had the finances and resources to perform our important mission. We would not exist without the Pritzker Military Museum and Library.
Since 2013, we have worked through our tireless PMML liaison, Susan Menenga, to create a network or state organizations, plan activities, and carry our national programs like 100 Cities/100 Memorials.
The first group we shared a coin with was the Military Order of the Purple Heart. The mission of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is to foster an environment of goodwill and camaraderie among combat wounded veterans, promote patriotism, support necessary legislative initiatives, and most importantly, provide service to all veterans and their families. Their legislative director, Aleks Morosky, accepted on their behalf.
We next shared coins with the two veteran service organizations who are authorized by Congress to provide a Commissioner to the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission -- the Veterans of Foreign Wars, represented by Executive Director Bob Wallace, and the American Legion, represented by Past National Commander Daniel Dellinger.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars is the nation’s oldest major combat veterans organization. The purpose of the VFW is to speed rehabilitation of the nation’s disabled and needy veterans, assist veterans’ widows and orphans and the dependents of needy or disabled veterans, and promote Americanism by means of education in patriotism and by constructive service to local communities.
American Legion is the nation’s largest veterans organization. As such, they are authorized by Congress to provide a Commissioner to the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. The Legion was founded by World War I veterans in 1919, as a veteran support organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in America’s communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and support for service members and veterans.
We also gifted a coin to General Carter F. Ham, President/CEO of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). The AUSA is a nonprofit educational and professional development association serving America’s Total Army -- our Soldiers, Army civilians, and their families; our industry partners, and supporters of a strong national defense -- to support all aspects of national security while advancing the interests of America's Army and the men and women who serve.
We paid respects to our friends at Sightline Media Group. Sightline's Military Times organization comprises Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times. Established in 1940, Military Times has earned its role as part of the fabric of the U.S. military community, playing an important role as the premier, dedicated, independent news source for the active-duty military, their families, veteran and retirees. Each of the Military Times brands are specifically focused for the needs, interests and culture of their particular military service.
We also shared first-purchase coins with our friends who represent the U.S. Marine Corps community.
The Marine Corps Association & Foundation is the professional organization of the United States Marine Corps, founded more than 100 years ago by General John A. Lejeune. Their mission is to be the preeminent association and foundation for all Marines and friends of the Corps, dedicated to development and recognition of professional excellence and expanding awareness of the rich traditions, history, and esprit of the United States Marine Corps.
Marine Corps League also traces its founding in 1923 to legendary Marine Corps Commandant John A. Lejeune. As the only Congressionally- chartered United States Marine Corps-related veterans organization in the United States, they are chartered to preserving the traditions and promoting the interests of the United States Marine Corps, banding together those who are now serving in the United States Marine Corps and those who have been honorably discharged from that service that they may effectively promote the ideals of American freedom and democracy, voluntarily aiding and rendering assistance to all Marines and former Marines and to their widows and orphans; and to perpetuate the history of the United States Marine Corps and by fitting acts to observe the anniversaries of historical occasions of particular interest to Marines.
Representing the MCA was CEO, Lieutenant General William Faulkner. Representing the Marine Corps League was Mr. Bob Borka, Chief Operating Officer.
All of these gifted coins are a symbol of thanks for the job that these partner organizations do, for the huge help that they have provided to us, and for the teamwork we will share on the road ahead.
This effort is not complete -- we plan to gift this special U.S. Mint coin to other key partner groups during the Centennial period.
We have been fortunate in bringing people together to remember our World War I American veterans, and to ensure that their stories and their legacies carry on.