The U.S. Postal Service issued Tuesday the first of an annual series of Forever Stamps that recognize key events of the Civil War — America’s bloodiest conflict, which began 150 years ago at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.
The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony took place at Liberty Square in Charleston, a location within earshot of cannon fire that ignited the conflict that killed 670,000 Americans — a casualty rate exceeding the combined total of Americans killed in all wars since that time.
Last year, with a 44-cent stamp, the U.S. Postal Service had also recognized Mother Teresa, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work. (Read: Mother Teresa Honored on U.S. Postal Stamp)
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This month Baltimore will also commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, as it was in Baltimore that the first blood was shed.
The city has pulled together a calendar of special events and exhibitions as well as a new, three-day pass for visitors to explore the places and stories of Baltimore’s Civil War. (Read: Baltimore Revisits First Bloodshed of the Civil War)
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“From this day forward, these historic images of Fort Sumter and the First Battle of Bull Run will be carried on letters and packages to millions of households and businesses throughout America,” said James C. Miller III, U.S. Postal Service Board of Governor member in dedicating the stamps.
“In this small way, the United States Postal Service recognizes the Civil War as a significant and uniquely American experience, and we hope to share the lessons learned ― as well as the story of those who endured the four-year ordeal ― with Americans everywhere.”
This first pane of the series, to be issued annually through 2015 in double sided sheets of 12 stamps, depicts two stamp designs commemorating the beginning of the war in April 1861 at Fort Sumter and the first major battle of the war near Manassas, VA.