May 31st, 2006 06:05 EST
The Purple Heart Postage Stamp
A new version of a postage stamp commemorating the Purple Heart and all those who have earned it was issued in a ceremony here May 26.
At the ceremony, two veterans of the war in Iraq were awarded Purple Hearts by R. James Nicholson, secretary of Veterans Affairs.
"(The Purple Heart) celebrates the indomitable spirit of ordinary Soldiers in extraordinary situations; it embodies our country`s earliest traditions of service and sacrifice," Secretary Nicholson said before presenting the Purple Heart to Army Spc. Michael Hilliard and Army Spc. Ian Wagner.
The Soldiers were wounded in Iraq while serving with the 101st Airborne Division and the 10th Mountain Division, respectively.
The stamp is a new version of the Purple Heart definitive stamp, first issued in May 2003 by the U.S. Postal Service. USPS is proud to recognize the Purple Heart with this stamp, because it reminds Americans of what people have suffered in the name of freedom, said John E. Potter, postmaster general and chief executive officer of the U.S. Postal Service.
"The award and the men and women it honors say so much about our nation," Mr. Potter said. "In reissuing this stamp today, we have 50 million chances to tell that story again."
About 100 Purple Heart recipients attended the ceremony at the invitation of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. James Randles, the order`s national commander, thanked all those who made the reissuance of the stamp possible, and said that the stamp is very important because it is a recognizable symbol that has meaning to servicemembers of all ages from all services.
"It is the one medal wanted by few but worn by many," Mr. Randles said.
The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the president to members of the military who have been wounded in combat or to the next of kin of those killed in action.
The stamp features the medal`s image -- a profile of George Washington on a purple background within a heart-shaped medallion. The stamp image is a photograph of one of two Purple Hearts awarded to James Loftus Fowler of Alexandria, Va. He was a lieutenant colonel in the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, when he received the Purple Heart in 1968 following action close to the Ben Hai River on the border between North and South Vietnam.
The new Purple Heart stamp went on sale nationally May 27.
Source: U.S. Air Force