Honoring Our Military Academies

The U.S. Postal Service has a tradition of honoring the nation’s military academies.  The Naval Academy, for example, was honored in 1937 (have you added the stamp to your collection?) and again in 1995 with this beautiful stamp:

In 2002, USPS issued this stamp to recognize the bicentennial of the United States Military Academy:

Thomas Jefferson signed legislation establishing a military academy at West Point, New York, in 1802. It was located at the site of a critical defensive position during the Revolutionary War. Holding West Point prevented the British from gaining control of the vital Hudson River Valley and dividing the colonies in two. Because of the importance of this location, George Washington declared West Point to be the key to the continent. The academy at West Point also featured on another stamp issued in 1937.

In 2004, USPS issued this stamp to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the United States Air Force Academy, whose mission is “to inspire and develop outstanding young men and women to become Air Force officers with knowledge, character, and discipline; motivated to lead the world’s greatest aerospace force in service to this nation.” A contemporary photograph of the Cadet Chapel appears on the stamp:

Join us all month as we recognize more of the contributions made by our nation’s military as part of National Military Appreciation Month. What subjects would you like to see highlighted? Let us know in the comments.

A True Badge of Distinction

May is National Military Appreciation Month, and we’ll be celebrating the noble acts of the brave men and women who have defended our country all month long here on Stamp of Approval.

The 2012 Purple Heart with Ribbon stamp honors the sacrifices of the men and women who serve in the U.S. military. The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to members of the U.S. military who have been wounded or killed in action. According to the Military Order of the Purple Heart, an organization for combat-wounded veterans, the medal is “the oldest military decoration in the world in present use and the first award made available to a common soldier.”

Established by General George Washington during the Revolutionary War, the badge of distinction for meritorious action—a heart made of purple cloth—was discontinued after the war. In 1932, on the 200th anniversary of Washington’s birth, the decoration was reinstated and redesigned as a purple heart of metal bordered by gold, suspended from a purple and white ribbon. In the center of the medal is a profile bust of George Washington beneath his family coat of arms.

The 2012 stamp has been redesigned to emphasize the brilliant purple appearing on the medal and in its ribbon. Featuring a photograph taken by Ira Wexler of the Purple Heart medal awarded during World War II to 1st Lieutenant Arthur J. Rubin (1917-1978), designer Jennifer Arnold reworked the 2011 design by slightly enlarging the Purple Heart medal and placing it on a pure white background.

The Purple Heart with Ribbon stamp is being issued as a Forever® stamp later this year. Stay tuned for information on the date and location of issuance!