Bill Introduced To Honor Infantry

June 12, 2008

On Tuesday, the US House of Representatives passed legislation that would authorize a commemorative silver dollar to honor US Army Infantry. The bill would also help to fund the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Fort Benning, Georgia. The bill was introduced by Representative Lynn Westmoreland and co-sponsored by Representative Sanford Bishop. The bill will still need approval from the Senate. It also faces competition from other commemorative coin proposals.

The coin will be sold for $10 and some of the proceeds will go to create an endowment fund for the Fort Benning Museum that is currently under construction. Fort Benning is known as the home of the Infantry and is one of the Army’s major infantry training bases. Fort Benning is typically home to around 33,000 Soldiers. The National Infantry Foundation is currently in the process of raising $70 million for the new museum, which has been designed to educate the public about the role that the Army Infantry has played throughout US history.

“For more than 200 years, our infantry has defended our lives and our freedom, and no tribute can repay what these Soldiers have given their fellow Americans,” Westmoreland said.

Congress limits itself to the authorization of two commemorative coins each year that in some way honors the nation’s history and culture. These coins typically raise money for historical sites and other monuments, such as the Vietnam Memorial. The program began in 1982 and since that time, the US Mint has raised more than $400 million for thse causes, after the Treasury costs are covered.

In the past, coins such as one celebrating Civil War battlefields, various Olympic games and the Statue of Liberty have been minted. Last year, the Mint started selling a coin that marked the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of the Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.

This is a great idea and one way that funds for worthy causes, such as the Infantry Museum, can be raised. It’s my hope that Congress will authorize coins to be created to honor ALL branches of the military and the different MOS’s that our Troops serve. What better way to honor the men and women who sacrifice so much for our country. It’s too bad that Congress limits themselves to authorizing only 2 of these coins per year.

Army Times


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