The Coastwatchers, also known as the Coast Watch Organisation, Combined Field Intelligence Service or Section C, Allied Intelligence Bureau, were Allied military intelligence operatives stationed on remote Pacific islands during World War II to observe enemy movements and rescue stranded Allied personnel. They played a significant role in the Pacific Ocean theatre and South West Pacific theatre, particularly as an early warning network during the … Continue reading Post #999: Coastwatchers in the Solomon Islands
Today is the 313th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin on Milk Street in Boston, Massachusetts. As arguably the greatest American who has ever lived, Franklin has been mentioned on this blog numerous times and received extensive biographies in 2017 and 2018 in conjunction with his roles in founding both the United States and Canadian post office systems. It is difficult to choose another … Continue reading Happy Birthday, Ben Franklin.
On December 19, 1777, the American Continental Army commanded by General George Washington began its winter encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Valley Forge was located 18 miles (29 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia. The Continental Army spent the winter of 1777–1778 there during the American Revolutionary War. Starvation, disease, malnutrition, and exposure killed more than 2,500 American soldiers by the end of February 1778. George Washington had … Continue reading Encampment at Valley Forge
I’ve been dreading the entry focusing on my homeland, the United States of America, for quite some time. I knew it was coming. When relatively “simple” entities such as Congo Free State or Crete consume four hours and more of work, producing seven or eight thousand words of text, I know covering the U.S.A. in the same amount of detail is a Herculean task best taken in small doses.
In a way, I’ve been doing that since the very inception of this blog on July 1, 2016, 498 days ago. In the ensuing 500 entries, I have published 67 entries about stamps issued by the United States Postal Service or its predecessor, the United States Post Office Department, These have covered great pieces of American history from pre-colonial days on up to the Space Race and have featured a number of the interesting personages that the nation of my birth has produced.
However, I have not done a simple entry that attempts to cover — in a nutshell — the entire breadth of American general history. I have yet to examine the full timeline of the republic’s postal history. Nor have I featured a stamp which I feel epitomizes all that I feel is memorable about the United States of America.
This brings me to the second item that initially caused great fear in preparing for this article: “Which stamp should I use?” I have never really had a “FAVORITE” U.S. stamp other than there being sets of stamps that I admire (the Columbians and Trans-Mississippians spring immediately to mind). As far as those illustrating “America”, I have always had a soft spot for those portraying events of the American Revolutionary period.
I was just beginning to collect stamps in 1975 and 1976, the period in which the nation was preparing to celebrate its Bicentennial. My family and I visited Washington, D.C., during the summer of 1975; most of the Smithsonian museums were closed for renovations but I was still caught up in patriotic fervor, something I experienced in the United States only one additional time (that being in the few days following September 11, 2001). My favorites at the time were the Bicentennial stamps portraying famous paintings of the Revolution. The set of souvenir sheets of which Scott #1688 is a part were beyond my meager means for many years and I have only recently purchased them. “Washington Crossing the Delaware” has long been my favorite incident of the war and so the choice became easy.
NOTE: I began putting this blog entry together in early August. At the time, I’d planned to try to weave the postal and philatelic histories through the general history. I gave up on that idea once I’d reached 10,000 words. I tried to break up the text quite regularly with appropriate (royalty-free) images. The article is a bit out-of-order alphabetically but I’m happy that it’s finally finished. I hope you enjoy it!\
July the fourth is celebrated by Americans worldwide as Independence Day, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the birth of the United States of America. There have been a great many stamps issued over the years honoring this event — and others in American history, both by the U.S. and numerous other nations. Personally, my favorite is the strip of … Continue reading Happy 4th of July!