Gov. Brad Henry
EDMOND — Earlier this month, I had the privilege of traveling to the U.S. Mint in Denver for the striking of the commemorative Oklahoma quarter. The coin features our state bird, the scissor-tailed flycatcher; and the state wildflower, gaillardia puchella, or Indian blanket.
The scissor-tailed flycatcher reflects the distinctiveness and energy of Oklahoma. Found only in a narrow range centered across Oklahoma, it is truly unique to this part of the country. The bird in flight is a fitting metaphor for Oklahoma’s dynamic vitality and the soaring promise of a state so rich in people and natural resources.
The design for the Oklahoma quarter was chosen by online and write-in votes. After two ad hoc committees combed through more than a thousand design suggestions, more than a quarter-million people narrowed the number from 10 to five finalists. Those finalists, in turn, were voted on by more than 148,000 people.
Because so many Oklahomans had a hand in choosing the design of the state quarter, I want to invite the public to join us on Jan. 28 as we launch the Oklahoma state quarter into circulation with a special event at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.
I will be joined by U.S. Mint Acting Deputy Director Dan Shaver for the unveiling of the commemorative Oklahoma quarter. Children who attend the event will receive a free Oklahoma quarter, courtesy of the Mint.
For the adults, the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation will provide free gaillardia seed packets, and rolls of Oklahoma quarters and special commemorative quarter sets will be available for sale. The festivities also will include live music from the Putnam City North High School Jazz Band.
The event begins at 11 a.m. Jan. 28 at the Oklahoma History Center. I hope many of you will consider attending as, on the heels of our state’s centennial, we launch this special quarter into circulation and share a little of Oklahoma’s natural beauty with the rest of the country.
GOV. BRAD HENRY may be reached via his Web site at www.governor.ok.gov.