U.S. First Responders stamp honors those who serve
By Michael Baadke
A United States forever stamp paying tribute to emergency workers and first responders will be issued Sept. 13.
“With this stamp, the Postal Service recognizes the men and women — including firefighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical service professionals — who respond to critical situations with skill, dedication and uncommon bravery,” the Postal Service said in a press release.
The nondenominated (50¢) stamp depicts three figures in action, set against a black background with dark smoke around them and ahead of them.
A firefighter tinted entirely in red grasps an axe; an EMS (emergency medical services) worker in shades of white has the EMS “star of life” symbol on her cap, sleeve and medical bag; and a police officer in blue shines a flashlight at the unseen situation ahead.
“The dark background and signs of smoke around the figures suggest the wide range of situations that demand the immediate attention of a first responder,” the Postal Service noted.
The digital artwork for the stamp was created by artist Brian Stauffer, working with U.S. Postal Service art director Antonio Alcala and designer Ricky Altizer.
The stamp, offset-printed by Ashton Potter USA Ltd., is being issued in panes of 20, with 60 million stamps printed.
The first-day ceremony for the Honoring First Responders stamp will take place at 11 a.m. at the Aerial Fire Depot and Smokejumper Center, 5765 W. Broadway St., in Missoula, Mont. First-day ceremony registration can be completed online.
The dedicating official will be Guy Cottrell, chief postal inspector for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
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An early U.S. stamp to honor first responders was issued 70 years ago. The 3¢ bright rose carmine Volunteer Firemen stamp was issued Oct. 4, 1948 (Scott 971). The stamp depicts Peter Stuyvesant (1610-72), the Dutch director-general of the New Netherland colony in New York who organized the first volunteer firemen 300 years earlier, according to the stamp inscription. The stamp shows early and modern fire engines on either side of the Stuyvesant portrait in the center.
A police officer is shown with a boy on a 6¢ stamp issued in 1968 with the theme of “Law and Order” (Scott 1343).
Following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, a semipostal stamp was issued June 7, 2002, showing three firefighters raising a U.S. flag on the scene of the World Trade Center (Scott B2). The surtax was designated for assistance to families of emergency relief personnel killed or permanently disabled in the attacks.
Two pictorial first-day cancels have been prepared for the Honoring First Responders commemorative stamp. A digital color postmark features several symbols representing the work of emergency responders, including a fire hose, the EMS symbol, a stethoscope and a flashlight.
The black postmark shows three vehicles viewed from the front: a police car, a fire truck and a medical response vehicle.
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