Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WWI vets may be honored; too bad they're all dead

Posted By on Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 10:54 AM

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Guess what? The veterans of World War I may finally get a commemorative coin and a proper national memorial to their sacrifice.

I know this, because the press release I received this morning told me so.

Really, if I hadn't gotten that e-mail I would have never guessed that America hadn't done all that stuff already. I mean, this is a world war we're talking about. Millions of Americans served. It seems crazy that our country never bothered to acknowledge that. America has a national memorial to Robert E. Lee, for crying out loud. A guy who fought against the United States.

Now, I guess this latest move is supposed to be good news — because America hasn't forgotten its history. But what is there for us to be proud of, really? The last American World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, died last year. And that means not a single vet from the "Great War" will be able to appreciate this honor.

Depressing, isn't it?

ANA encourages members to support efforts to create a World War I commemorative coin

The American Numismatic Association is asking members to support legislative efforts to create a commemorative dollar coin honoring World War I veterans.

The United States has memorialized the Civil War, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War on U.S. commemorative coins, but no coin honors World War I veterans. ANA Numismatic Educator Rod Gillis is working to correct that oversight.

“It was really surprising to me that World War I veterans were never honored with their own coin,” Gillis said. “This legislation will help give these veterans proper recognition.”

More than two years ago, Gillis launched the effort to create this commemorative. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) agreed to sponsor H.R. 4107, the “World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin Act.”

Under the proposed law, the coin would be minted in 2017 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of America’s participation in World War I. The United States formally declared war against Germany and entered the conflict in Europe on April 6, 1917. More than
4 million U.S. men and women served in uniform during World War I, and more than 2 million American soldiers served overseas.

For every coin sold, a surcharge would go to the World War I Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C. This group was founded after Frank Buckles, the last surviving American World War I veteran, visited the District of Columbia War Memorial on the National Mall in March 2008.

Buckles observed that this memorial — dedicated in 1931 to the 499 District of Columbia residents who gave their lives in that war — sat neglected and in extreme disrepair. Noting that there is no national World War I memorial, he issued a call for the memorial’s restoration and re-dedication as a National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial.
“The new memorial will honor all World War I veterans and make Frank Buckles’ dream a reality,” said Gillis, who is currently working to secure a sponsor for the bill in the U.S. Senate.
Please contact your Congressional representative and voice your support. Contact information can be found at www.house.gov/representatives/.

If you have questions about this effort, please contact Gillis at 719-482-9845 or email gillis@money.org.

The American Numismatic Association is a congressionally chartered, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to encouraging people to study and collect money and related items. The ANA helps its 28,000 members and the public discover and explore the world of money through its vast array of education and outreach programs, as well as its museum, library, publications, conventions and seminars. For more information, call 719-632-2646 or go to www.money.org.

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