WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service today showcased the Forever Star-Spangled Banner Stamp during a special ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, home to the 15-star, 15-stripe flag that inspired the national anthem.
“We’re here today to honor our country’s most powerful symbols, our flag and our national anthem,” said Kristin Seaver, vice president, Area Operations, Capital Metro Area, U.S. Postal Service. “When a young poet named Francis Scott Key saw those broad stripes and bright stars still waving at dawn on the top of Fort McHenry during the battle of Baltimore, he was so inspired, he put pen to paper and wrote the words that eventually became our national anthem.
“It’s impossible to look at this image and not feel proud and patriotic,” said Seaver. “Let the stamp serve as a small reminder of a very big idea that in America, our flag isn’t just a patchwork of colored fabric. It’s a powerful symbol of our history, our heritage and the common ground we all share.”
Joining Seaver to dedicate the stamp were John Gray, director, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History; Jennifer Locke Jones, chair and curator, Division of Armed Forces History, National Museum of American History; Tina Cappetta, superintendent, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine; Phil Jordan and Gary Clark, the Forever Star-Spangled Banner stamp’s art director and photographer, respectively; and Ted Wilson, registrar, Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.
Issued Jan. 28, the stamp was featured at the museum to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” The formats available are a booklet of 20 stamps, coil of 100 stamps, and an ATM sheetlet of 18 stamps.
This stamp design features a photograph of the flag that flies over Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, MD. This flag is a replica of the one that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” after realizing Fort McHenry had withstood the British attack of Sept.13-14, 1814.
The picture of the flag was taken against a backdrop of fireworks during an annual celebration of Defenders’ Day, a legal holiday in the state of Maryland commemorating the successful defense of the city of Baltimore on Sept. 12, 1814 from an invading British force during the War of 1812.
Photographer Gary Clark said it was a challenge to get the fireworks and the flag in the same shot and that “the wind picked up quite a bit that night.” Art director Phil Jordan designed the stamp.
The Star-Spangled Banner stamp is being issued as a Forever Stamp, which is equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.
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