Hundreds of pioneer re-enactors, a large cadre of National Park Service (NPS) rangers, representatives from the U.S. Mint and an estimated 10,000 visitors were on the grounds of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park April 9th – 11th for An American Memoir: From the Hearts of Our Ancestors...Into the Hands of Our Children.
Park Superintendent Sula Jacobs jubilantly exclaimed, “This is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service! There’s no better way to connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters, and advocates than by hosting a fun filled, educational event into which visitors will be able to totally immerse themselves.”
The event’s grand finale occured on Monday, April 11th at 11:00 a.m. when the U.S. Mint launched the America the Beautiful quarter for Kentucky, honoring Cumberland Gap. Guest speakers included NPS Deputy Director Peggy O’Dell. “The National Park Service's collaboration with the United States Mint on the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program has showcased some of our nation's national park treasures, and this latest coin, featuring Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, adds a beautiful new scene to the collection. Especially during the National Park Service's Centennial year, when we are encouraging all Americans to discover the incredible diversity of our national park sites, these quarters are a fun way to inspire people to celebrate with us and Find Your Park.”
On stage with O’Dell was Congressman Hal Rogers, NPS Director for the Southeast Region Stan Austin, and U.S. Mint at Philadelphia Plant Manager Marc Landry.
Middlesboro Elementary fourth graders Hattie Landen and Makaya Patterson served as masters of ceremony. A memorable moment included an en masse swearing in of more than 2,200 Junior Rangers. All children in attendance 18 years old and younger received a Cumberland Gap quarter free from the U.S. Mint.