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America the Beautiful Quarters – American Memorial Park

April 1, 2019 0 Comments

As part of the on-going America the Beautiful Quarter series, April sees the release of the second coin for 2019, which steps outside continental USA, and goes to the remote Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a group of 14 islands in the Pacific, near Guam, which has been administered by the US since the Japanese surrender of WWII. This dependent territory of the USA has about 54,000 people living on these islands, mostly on the main island of Saipan. It is on that island we find the American Memorial Park, which is the subject of this coin. Bags and rolls of quarters are already available, as well as a 5-ounce, 3-inch diameter silver version of it, but the official release ceremony will take place on April 30, 2019 at the Park on Saipan.

The park is part of the US National Park network, and it covers 133 acres of the island. There is a beautiful beach, 30 acres of protected wetland and mangrove forest, areas for picnicking, as well as baseball, bicycling, running, and tennis facilities. The main attraction though, and the feature of the quarter, is the Memorial to the Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign of WWII.  This invasion of the islands was part of the larger campaign to take the Philippines from the Japanese, and it took place in the second half of 1944. The central focus of the memorial is the Court of Honor, which consists of 26 granite panels, with the names of the 5,204 Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Coast Guard service members who died in the campaign. In the center is the Flag Circle, containing the flags of those services.  

This part of the memorial, which was created and dedicated in 1994, for the 50th anniversary of the campaign, is featured on the reverse of the quarter, which shows a Chamorro woman in traditional dress at the front of the Flag Circle and Court of Honor. The Chamorro are the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands, and of Guam. Her hand rests on a plaque inscribed with text honoring the sacrifice of those who died. The inscriptions around the image are, AMERICAN MEMORIAL PARK, N. MARIANA ISLANDS, 2019, and E PLURIBUS UNUM. The design is by U.S. Mint artist Donna Weaver, and the master die was made by one of the Mint’s sculptor-engravers, Phebe Hemphill. The artist’s initials (DW) appear at the extreme left of the image.

There are other memorials in the park, chiefly the Saipan American Memorial, a 12-foot tall rectangular obelisk of rose granite, dedicated to the soldiers and Chamorro who died in the wider battle for all the Marianas, including Guam. Beside the obelisk is the Carillon Bell Tower, which commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the end of WWII.

More recently, in 2004, the Marianas Memorial was created to honor the memory of the indigenous peoples who were victims of a war they did not create. There are 10 granite panels carrying 929 names.

Like all quarters since 1932, the obverse shows John Flanagan’s profile image of George Washington, the first President of the United States. This design has been slightly modified over the years, but it is substantially unchanged. The inscriptions on this side are, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST, and QUARTER DOLLAR. The mint mark is also on the obverse (P for Philadelphia, D for Denver and S for San Francisco.)

Filed in: Informative

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