The first Congressional Gold Medal was commissioned in 1776 in honor of General George Washington. Other recipients include military leaders, actors, authors, entertainers, musicians, pioneers in aeronautics and space, explorers, lifesavers, notables in science and medicine, athletes, humanitarians, public servants, and foreign recipients.
Each medal is an individual work of art.The U.S. Mint in Philadelphia is responsible for creating the medals.They sent a team of sculptors/engravers to the memorial to conduct research and gain a sense of place. A set of proposed designs were developed and after comments by the Commission of Fine Arts, the Secretary of the Treasury chose a final design.
The obverse of the Flight 93 medal depicts the rural Pennsylvania field where Flight 93 crashed on September 11, 2001. It features an image of the sandstone boulder that marks the area of the impact site, and the hemlock trees at the edge of the field. The Medal is inscribed with these words: "A common field one day, a field of honor forever" and "Act of Congress 2011."
Observe designer and sculptor/engraver: Joseph Menna
The reverse features forty stars on a raised border, representing the forty passengers and crew members of Flight 93, and a sentinel eagle clasping laurel branches. The reverse also depicts the western front of the U.S. Capitol. Above the Dome of the Capitol is the inscription: "We honor the passengers and crew of Flight 93 who perished in a Pennsylvania field on September 11, 2001. Their courageous action will be remembered forever."
Reverse designer and sculptor/engraver: Phebe Hemphill