Cumberland Gap National Historical Park was celebrated with more than 2200 students, several national dignitaries, park staff and visitors during the launch of a U.S. Minted quarter in honor of the park on Monday afternoon.
Middlesboro Elementary School students Makayla Patterson and Hattie Landen emceed the program as part of their Leader in Me studies.
Congressman Hal Rogers spoke to students and visitors about the significance the Cumberland Gap played in history and the importance of having Daniel Boone depicted on a quarter. He suggested that the distribution of the quarter will help promote the area across the country and potentially the world.
Rogers connected with the students, noting the sacrifice pioneers had to make and how difficult it would be to leave things behind to move on to a different, unexplored area with only hope for the future.
Every student received a quarter in a protective coin case to commemorate their time today. Rogers suggested the students should save the quarter as a special piece of history to pass down for generations.
Other dignitaries in attendance include Stan Austin, regional director of the southeast region of the National Park Service, Marc Landry, plant manager of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia and Donna McClure, representative from Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office, to name a few.
The quarter launch event was a wrap-up to An American Memoir — a weekend of educational events, living history demonstrations and a celebration of the centennial of the National Park Service. Reenactors portrayed stories of Cherokee Indians, George Washington, Daniel Boone, enslaved people, traders and long hunters who played a vital role in local and national history.
“That’s a true story of perseverance and bravery and strength and a similar story can be said about so many of the people that passed through the Gap and through this area. That’s what lived on, those values, and created the America we are proud of and know and love,” said Ranger Pamela Eddy.
The centennial anniversary of the National Park Service will be honored in many of the national parks across the country throughout 2016.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.