The U.S. Mint brought its America the Beautiful Quarters Program to the CNMI yesterday with the release of its 47th coin design featuring the American Memorial Park that will appear on the “tail” side of the U.S. quarter.
The coin was launched yesterday for circulation in the U.S. and around the world at the AMP amphitheater on Beach Road in Garapan.
The quarters program honors 56 national parks and national sites on each state, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories, including the CNMI.
The AMP quarter is one of the five America the Beautiful quarters to be released this year. The other national parks that will be featured in the quarter are the Lowell National Historical Park in Massachusetts, War in the Pacific National Historic Park in Guam, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in Texas, and the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho.
The 133-acre AMP itself is a tribute to the thousands of American and Marianas people who perished during the Marianas Campaign of World War II. Three distinct locations within the park pay tribute to the lives lost: the Memorial Court of Honor and Flag Circle, the Marianas Memorial (dedicated to the indigenous people who died), and the carillon.
According to U.S. Mint director David Ryder, the AMP quarter also pays tribute to Saipan. “I think this coin does a fabulous job in doing just that, as Saipan is a wonderful place. It is definitely rich in history and I think the American public is going to like and save this coin,” he said.
“…It’s one of the most beautiful ones we’ve done so far. …We are looking at producing quite a few million and they are circulating coins so we manufacture several billion quarters a year and this will be part of the manufacturing,” he added.
The reverse (tails) design of the quarter shows a young Chamorro girl in traditional attire and wearing a mwar-mwar standing and resting her hand on the plaque that pays tribute to the lives lost in the Marianas campaign of World War II. Inscriptions on the quarter are “AMERICAN MEMORIAL PARK,” “N. MARIANA ISLANDS,” “2019,” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”
Approximately 5,204 names of American and Marianas people who were killed when American forces seized the CNMI from Japanese control are inscribed on a memorial at AMP.
“The American seizure of the Northern Mariana Islands hastened the end of the war but came at a price of thousands of casualties. May this quarter stand as a tribute to the memories this park preserves.” Ryder said.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who attended the launch, said that having AMP highlighted in the quarter is a great honor for the CNMI. “This is a great opportunity to be in the design of a circulating quarter that represents the CNMI. …This coin is monumental and a huge acknowledgement that we are a part of the United States family,” he said in a speech.
“[With] the circulation of this coin around the world, I hope tourists and people around the world will appreciate our culture and know who we are. This comes with the hope also that they will one day come here and see for themselves what the coin represents—us, the CNMI people,” he added.
The governor also proclaimed yesterday, April 30, as Quarter Day in the Classroom, which makes the CNMI a home to a community of dedicated teachers that recognizes the significance of the AMP quarter as a learning opportunity to bring further knowledge and appreciate the park.
Isla Montessori School educator Susan Book brought her students to watch the launch. “It is important for children to see this because it is a part of history, their island and their park. It is a commemorative souvenir that they can hold on to for their entire lives. We wouldn’t miss this chance to see this for them because they are going to remember this,” she said.
Saipan International School Kindergarten teacher Pam Villadores-Walsh said that this coin launch is timely because she and her students are currently on the subject of U.S. coinage. “We are learning about money. That is why this is a perfect time for the children to learn about quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies,” she said.
“Aside from the learning opportunity about coins, this event is also historic, which is connected to our Social Studies subject as we are talking about ‘community helpers’ and to get to know our park rangers,” she added.
Kagman Elementary School teacher Justise Quitagua said that it is important for students to be aware of what is on the island. “They come here and they see it as just a park but they also need to know what happened in the past. This park is a memorial for the people who gave up their lives during the war and this is part of our culture.”
U.S. Mint representatives were also joined at the launch by CNMI legislators, government officials, and business people.
For their part, IT&E Customer Service manager Janice Tenorio said that they will help circulate the coin in the CNMI and throughout the world by acquiring AMP quarter coins and make them part of their change at their billing and payment section. “When people come to IT&E to make payments, we have these quarters to give as change to start its movement and circulation.”
“This is important to us as we believe in our culture and IT&E is a big fan of education,” she added.