US Stamps

Caption this U.S. stamp for WWI veterans

Jan 30, 2019, 8 AM
Our cartoon caption contest stamp for February is the 1985 22¢ stamp honoring World War I veterans. Entries must be received by Feb. 22 for a chance to win a prize. The rules are in the accompanying article.

By John M. Hotchner

We’ve recently marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, also known as the war to end all wars. Unfortunately, history didn’t turn out that way.

In 1985, the United States issued a 22¢ stamp that didn’t commemorate any specific event, but instead honored the 4.75 million U.S. men and women who served in uniform during WWI (Scott 2154). About half actually served in combat. Of these, there were 53,402 combat deaths and 204,002 wounded.

The United States did not enter the war until 1917, so if the stamp was intended to mark an event, it would be the one that arguably lit a fire under President Woodrow Wilson and led to a U.S. declaration of war.

On May 20, 1915, the German submarine U-20 sank the British ocean liner RMS Lusitania. The ship sank in 18 minutes, with the loss of 1,198 lives, including 128 Americans.

Richard Sheaff designed the stamp, and it was engraved by master engraver Czeslaw Slania.

The design was based on a pencil sketch by Robert Anderson, that itself was based on a pastel drawing from life by Army combat artist Capt. Harvey Dunn.

It shows bayonet-wielding American troops advancing up a hill at the Second Battle of the Marne (July 15-Aug. 6, 1918). The Allied victory in this battle is considered to be a turning point in the war.

While the subject is more serious than most cartoon caption contests, the action shown and the irony of hoping that this war would end war makes it an attractive stamp for this purpose.

You are invited to put yourself in uniform and consider what you might be thinking or saying as you advance up the hill. You can address the war itself, the travails of the soldiers, the politics of the era, how the war relates to stamp collecting, or anything else you think is appropriate.

There will be two prizes given to the winners: one for the best philatelic line, and one for the best nonphilatelic line. The important thing is to use your sense of humor, because entries with a humorous twist have the best chance of winning a prize.

Put your entry (or entries) on a postcard if possible and send it to me, John Hotchner, Cartoon Contest, Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125; or email it to jmhstamp@verizon.net. If you send an email, it is essential that you include your postal mailing address.

For each winner, the prize will be a 13-week subscription to Linn’s (a new subscription or an extension). Entries must reach me no later than Feb. 28.

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