by Steven J. Bahnsen
With an American Legion band playing “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,” the U.S. Postal Service dedicated the World War I Forever stamp on July 26. The theme of the stamp ─ Turning the Tide ─ commemorates the centennial of America’s involvement in the Great War.
A crowd of 150 took part in the dedication ceremony in the large auditorium of the National World War I Museum and Monument, which overlooks downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The Fort Riley (Kansas) Doughboy Honor Guard presented the colors before the singing of the National Anthem.
Lora Vogt, Curator of Education at the museum, was the Master of Ceremonies. One of her comments hit home with stamp collectors in the audience: she likes self-adhesive stamps(as do those at many organizations that conduct mass mailings), and she thanked the USPS for issuing them.
The principal speaker at the ceremony was USPS Executive Vice President and General Counsel Thomas J. Marshall. Other speakers included Dr. Matthew Naylor, President of the National World War I Museum; Quartermaster General of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Quartermaster General Debra Anderson National Postal Museum Curator Lynn Heidelbaugh; and Dr. Richard Faulkner, Professor of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Joining these people onstage for the stamp unveiling was Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver.
All who attended received a handsome program with a first day cancel on the outer envelope, along with a stamp pin to wear. As the American Legion Band’s wind ensemble concluded with “Kansas City”, people went into the lobby for autographs.
The Kansas City post office set up separate tables for stamp sales and first day pictorial postmarks. No. 6¾ envelopes with color first day cancels were on sale as well, created at the nearby Philatelic Fulfillment Center, the so-called “Kansas City Caves.” While no commercial stamp dealers could sell cacheted envelopes, the Gladstone (Missouri) Stamp Club had a table promoting its August 24-25 show.
The WWI stamp dedication was a well-executed event on everyone’s part. It was a pleasure to attend.
Feature Image: The 1st Infantry Division’s Commanding General’s Color Guard in WWI doughboy uniforms presented the colors before the dedication. (Image courtesy Capt. Ed Alvarado, 19th Public Affairs Detachment.)