By honoring the tradition of challenge coins, you are in turn honoring your country.
Wondering what to get for the friend or family member who recently graduated from a law enforcement agency? Perhaps they were promoted to a special squadron or unit, or joined a branch of the military or emergency services? Consider following a time-honored tradition and presenting them with a custom challenge coin.
The tradition originally began in the military when the coins were given to commemorate a particular job well done. Since then the process has evolved and is being passed onto police departments, fire departments, emergency services, and even schools and corporations. These coins become a possession that the recipient will cherish for a lifetime.
Soldiers began carrying their challenge coins with them at all times after they realized the significance and power that they could hold. During the war, one soldier’s sentimentality about his challenge coin became the very thing that saved his life.
The legend of the challenge coin began back in World War I, when air warfare was a new concept. Unlike earlier times, when militia were manned by working-class men, air squadrons were manned by men from all walks of life, no matter if they were wealthy or poor. As the story goes, one wealthy lieutenant had a custom coin created as a gift to his unit as a memento of their service together. The coin was gold-plated, and therefore quite valuable. One of the other soldiers, who had never owned anything of such value, became very attached to his coin, and began to wear the coin in a pouch around his neck for safe keeping.
This particular soldier found himself trapped behind enemy lines with a damaged aircraft and no way of escape. By a stroke of luck, Allied forces attacked the German camp as he was being taken to a prison camp. However, having no form of identification after being stripped of his belonging by his captors, the French army had no choice but to assume he was an enemy and execute him…until they noticed the coin. This soldier was wearing his challenge coin around his neck and it was the single way in which he could identify himself as an ally. This story reached other soldiers back at the camp and thus began the tradition of carrying one’s squadron coin on your person at all times as an extra form of recognition and identification.
This legend has since been an inspiration for many different branches of military and law enforcement. Soldiers and officers use these coins as a form of identification and status.
Bonus Fun Fact: President Bill Clinton received many military service members’ Challenge Coins as a symbol of respect while in office. He kept the prized collection on display on the credenza in the Oval Office and it has since found permanent residence at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.
How would you like to show your respect for your comrades, family member or unit? We can help you design a completely unique and meaningful challenge coin that will become an heirloom. Call us now on 877-290-9290.