Celebrating the Stars and Stripes on Flag Day

It’s Flag Day and we’re showing our love for the red, white, and blue by proudly “displaying” the four beautiful A Flag for All Seasons Forever® stamps—and by looking into the history of this patriotic holiday, of course!

FlagsSeasons-2013-Forever-block4-BGv2Celebrated every year on June 14, Flag Day commemorates the Continental Congress’ adoption of the Stars and Stripes as America’s national flag on June 14, 1777. Bernard J. Cigrand, a school teacher in Waubeka, Wisconsin, is credited with the first observation of this important day. On June 14, 1885, Cigrand displayed a small American flag on his desk and had his students write essays on the flag and its significance.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson officially named June 14 Flag Day, establishing a national tradition of honoring this powerful symbol. Each year, parades and ceremonial recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance ring in the holiday as millions of Americans fly the flag outside their homes and businesses.

What will your community be doing to celebrate Old Glory today?

The four A Flag for All Seasons Forever® stamps are a great way to show your patriotism. They can be purchased in Post Offices nationwide or online at usps.com/stamps. You can also order them by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724).

Inspire Your Students With New School Days & American Ways Calendar

For generations, stamp collectors have understood the historical and cultural connections stamps have with the pulse of America, which makes them wonderful teaching tools. Each stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service is a snapshot in time, capturing interesting bits of Americana throughout our history.

With our 2012–2013 School Days & American Ways Calendar, educators can inspire their students to learn about our country through stamps. Our poster-sized calendars include monthly themes that correspond with primary-grade curricula in history, geography, science, and language arts. Important dates and relevant postage stamp images are added throughout the months to help connect individual stamps to classroom subjects.

The 28-page Teaching Guide will help you coordinate these monthly themes into well-rounded lesson plans. The guide includes ideas for interactive learning activities that will help engage students, such as journaling, small group work, art projects, games, and class discussions.

Stamps make wonderful teaching tools that can help spark curiosity in young learners. You can learn more about all of our instructional products online at the Postal Store.

Righty or Lefty?: Joe DiMaggio Stamp Mystery Solved

We’ve had several inquiries lately about Joe DiMaggio‘s stamp in the recently issued set of Major League Baseball All-Stars stamps. Specifically, collectors and enthusiasts have addressed the depiction of DiMaggio’s swing. So, is DiMaggio’s swing correctly portrayed? The answer is yes, and here’s why:The Yankee Clipper was a right-handed batter, and he is indeed following through on his right-handed swing. However, due to the size of the stamp, you can’t see that his lower torso and legs are twisted as they would be on his follow-through. The stamp artist, Kadir Nelson, also had to slightly change the position of the bat in order to show all of it. If this had been a photograph, you would’ve been able to see that when DiMaggio followed through, his bat was extended fully away from his body and nearly parallel to the ground. (If you’d like to see what we’re describing, check out the photo in this Wall Street Journal article.)

The Major League Baseball All-Stars (Forever®) stamps, as well as many baseball-related philatelic products, are now available. Joining DiMaggio on the roster are Larry Doby, Willie Stargell, and Ted Williams.

Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc.

USPS to Take Part in Alcatraz’s 78th Anniversary Celebration

Later this week, USPS will once again participate in the commemoration of the opening of U.S. Penitentiary Alcatraz, which marks its 78th anniversary this year. A special commemorative postmark was created to honor the anniversary, and on Saturday, August 11, Postal Service employees will cancel letters and postcards in the Alcatraz gift shop from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

For those who cannot make it to Alcatraz Island for the event, but would still like a postcard or letter with the Alcatraz special pictorial postmark, stop by the Rincon Post Office, 180 Steuart St., San Francisco. The commemorative postmark will be available until September 14, 2012.

Every year in August, the National Park Service hosts activities to commemorate the anniversary of the penitentiary opening. Many of the former residents of Alcatraz are scheduled to be on Alcatraz Island in honor of this special 78th anniversary event. For more information about the anniversary event visit https://www.alcatrazcruises.com/.

According to author Jerry Lewis Champion Jr., the discovery of Alcatraz is related to the Postal Service. The San Carlos, a Spanish packet ship, discovered the Island of Alcatraz on August 5, 1775. The primary function of packet ships was the transport of mail. The Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala named the Island, La Isla de los Alcatraces, which translates to “island of the pelicans.”  Later the name was shortened and altered to the current name of Alcatraz.

The first U.S. Post Office opened on Alcatraz Island on March 6, 1874. At the time, Alcatraz was a U.S. Army reservation known as the “Post at Alcatraz,” which had been established in 1850. The Army post closed in 1933, and on January 1, 1934, Alcatraz became a U.S. federal penitentiary. The island Post Office developed a rubber stamp that featured a cartoon-like pelican with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. That theme has been reproduced for the 78th anniversary cancellation. When the prison closed in 1963, the Alcatraz Post Office also closed.

Happy Bastille Day!

Happy Bastille Day, everyone! Otherwise known as French National Day, Bastille Day is celebrated every year on July 14 to commemorate the beginning of France’s historic revolution. On this date in 1789, revolutionaries stormed the Bastille fortress and prison in Paris. Since then, this day has come to symbolize Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (Freedom, Equality, and Brotherhood) the world over.

In 1989, USPS joined France’s La Poste in issuing stamps that marked the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. And just last month we teamed up again for a joint issuance that celebrates our shared cultural history—the Miles Davis and Edith Piaf (Forever®) stamps. Edith Piaf is one of few French popular singers to become a household name in the U.S.; the great American jazz trumpeter Miles Davis is beloved in France, where he performed frequently.

Davis was made a Chevalier in the Legion of Honor. He was also awarded the Grande Médaille de Vermeil by the city of Paris (the equivalent of making him an honorary citizen). Americans may know Edith Piaf best for her song “La Vie en Rose” (“Life in Pink”), about the experience of falling in love and seeing life through rose-colored glasses; the tune is still heard on the streets of Paris today.

This year, to celebrate Bastille Day, why not relax with some music by Miles Davis and Edith Piaf?

To see all USPS joint issues, including the 1986 Statue of Liberty and 1983 American Bicentennial with La Poste, visit Beyond the Perf.

Name, image and likeness of Miles Davis with permission from Miles Davis Properties, LLC.