Medal awarded to honor brother killed in 9/11 attack

Blue Mountain Eagle

Gerry Iken of Prairie City has been honored with a replica Congressional Gold Medal, commemorating the loss of his brother, Michael Patrick Iken, in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The U.S. Mint recently prepared three original gold medals, one for each of the sites hit on Sept. 11, 2001 – The World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Penn. – in accordance with the Fallen Heroes of 9/11 Act. The originals will be placed at the memorials at each location.

Duplicates were given to family members of those lost on 9/11.

Iken, who teaches history at Prairie City High School, said U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden selected him to be a recipient in recognition of his attempts to teach his students about the events of 9/11.

Iken is the only person in Oregon who lost a direct family member.

His brother, Michael, was on the 84th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City that fateful morning, and was killed when the second plane hit that tower. He was 37 years old.

The medal’s front side shows an upward image of the twin towers, with the words “Always Remember,” and the numbers of each flight – 11, 175, 77 and 93 – positioned as if on a clock, in the approximate times of each crash.

The back side reads, “We honor the thousands of innocent people from more than 90 countries lost at the World Trade Center in the attacks that shook the world on September 11, 2001. May their memory inspire and end to intolerance.”

The other two medals depict images of the Pentagon and a field of hemlock groves behind the memorial in Pennsylvania.

Iken attended the 10-year commemoration of the attacks in September 2011 in New York, where he was among several family members who read names of the nearly 3,000 who died that day.

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