Happy Independence Day, America!

We know you’re celebrating the nation’s birthday with parties and fireworks today, but we’ve got a bit of trivia to stoke your patriotism. Do you know how the U.S. flag received its distinguished nickname of Old Glory? We did some digging and found out!

The first American flag to don the name “Old Glory” was made by Captain William Driver in 1824. He proudly flew the handsewn flag on his ship in which he circled the globe twice. Displaying it on patriotic holidays thereafter, Driver gave the sea-weathered flag a name befitting its role as a symbol of liberty and justice.

USPS00STA026KThe original flag Driver made contained 24 stars on a field of blue. In 1861, he remade the tattered flag with 34 stars, reflecting the addition of ten states to the Union sincFlagsSeasons-2013-Forever-block4-BGv2e his first flag was created. The story of Old Glory, which survived the Civil War in Confederate Tennessee sewn into a quilt, became a legend and the name was soon adopted for all American flags.

Celebrate Independence Day this year with the patriotic A Flag for All Seasons Forever® stamps. They are available and in Post Offices nationwide, or you can call (). Like the flag pictured on them, these stamps are good forever.

Celebrating the Stars and Stripes on Flag Day

It’s Flag Day and we’re showing our love for the red, white, and blue by proudly “displaying” the four beautiful A Flag for All Seasons Forever® stamps—and by looking into the history of this patriotic holiday, of course!

Celebrated every year on June 14, Flag Day commemorates the Continental Congress’ adoption of the Stars and Stripes as America’s national flag on June 14, 1777. Bernard J. Cigrand, a school teacher in Waubeka, Wisconsin, is credited with the first observation of this important day. On June 14, 1885, Cigrand displayed a small American flag on his desk and had his students write essays on the flag and its significance.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson officially named June 14 Flag Day, establishing a national tradition of honoring this powerful symbol. Each year, parades and ceremonial recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance ring in the holiday as millions of Americans fly the flag outside their homes and businesses.

What will your community be doing to celebrate Old Glory today?

The four are a great way to show your patriotism. They can be purchased in Post Offices nationwide or online at usps.com/stamps. You can also order them by calling ().

Five Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Respecting the Flag

FlagsSeasons-2013-Forever-block4-BGv2Just a few weeks ago, USPS issued . These four stamps show the U.S. flag at full staff in each season of the year, but did you know there’s a lot more ceremony to respecting Old Glory than making sure she can withstand the elements? In preparation for Flag Day (which is this Friday), we did a little research.

The National Flag Code—the basis for a 1942 federal law that provides specific rules for the use and display of the flag—includes a long list of guidelines for how citizens should show their respect for the Stars and Stripes. Several of these rules are well-known to most, but some are more obscure. Here are five things you may not know about handling the flag:

  • The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
  • The flag should never be displayed with the union down, expect as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
  • The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.
  • No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform (except in the case of military personnel, firefighters, and police officers).
  • The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

Check out the United States Code for more information about the proper ways to display the Stars and Stripes in every season.

Each envelope in this set features a different, affixed A Flag For All Seasons (Forever®) stamp and an official First Day of Issue color postmark. Click the image for details.

A Flag for All Seasons Forever® stamps are currently and in Post Offices nationwide. You can also order them by calling ().

Tejano Music’s Lark and Queen

LydiaMendoza-Single-slideshowWith her 12-string guitar and unmistakable, soulful voice, (1916–2007)—whose career spanned seven decades—was one of the first and greatest stars of Tejano music. As a pioneer in this primarily Spanish-language genre of the Texas-Mexico borderlands, she gave a voice to Latinos throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Mendoza is not the first Tejano icon to appear on a U.S. postage stamp. In 2011, the Latin Music Legends Forever® stamps featured Selena (1971–1995), the wildly popular “Queen of Tejano.” Like Mendoza, Selena got her musical start at a young age, singing in a family band before breaking out as a solo performer. Her charisma and strong voice made her a dynamic entertainer.

Selena-Forever-single-v5Mendoza helped define the distinctive Tejano style—a combination of Mexican ranchera-style music mixed with German polka sounds—and Selena transformed it, integrating techno-hip-hop beats and disco-influenced dance moves. While most of her songs were sung in Spanish, Selena recorded a crossover album released after her death that was meant to appeal to new English-language audiences. Shortly after its release in 1995, Dreaming of You hit number 1 on the Billboard 200, immortalizing the singer as an international sensation.

Though their songs vary in sound and style, Lydia Mendoza and Selena were both important representatives of Latino culture in America. Their legacies live on in the musicians who continue to play in a genre that Selena modernized and Mendoza helped create.

New Where Dreams Blossom Stamp Lets Your Mail Bloom

Whether you’re sending thank-you notes, save-the-date notices, or cheerful cards of love and encouragement, the new Where Dreams Blossom Forever® stamp is sure to brighten up your envelopes.

WhereDreamsBlossom-Forever-single-BGv1With a playful take on the popular floral theme, this contemporary stamp features eleven colorful blooms, just one shy of the traditional dozen. The stamp’s title is taken from the unattributed quotation, “Hopes are planted in friendship’s garden where dreams blossom into priceless treasures.”

Similar to the design of the two-ounce Yes, I Do wedding stamp, Where Dreams Blossom is a perfect companion for wedding correspondence and notes to friends.

The Forever stamp was released yesterday at the ASDA Spring Postage Stamp Show in New York City and is available now online and in Post Offices around the country.

Where Dreams Blossom is available in sheets of 20 self-adhesive stamps. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce rate.