Stamp Honors USS Constellation Anniversary

Story Number: NNS040701-12Release Date: 7/1/2004 12:41:00 PM
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By Journalist 2nd Class Charles L. Ludwig, Navy News Service

BALTIMORE (NNS) -- The U.S. Postal Service honored USS Constellation June 30 in Baltimore with the dedication of a new stamp depicting the ship.

The first-day issuance ceremony took place at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater near the 186-foot ship, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

John Nolan, the postal service's Postmaster General, dedicated the stamp. "It's a pleasure to honor the U.S. Navy's pride and joy," Nolan said in a speech prior to the stamp's unveiling. "The Constellation has become a treasured symbol of our nation's history as a relentless protector of America's democracy."

The stamp, one of only a handful of new stamps to be released this year, features art from a hand engraving based on an 1893 photograph. It features the Navy's last all-sail sloop-of-war under sail. On the stamp, the words "USS Constellation" are printed above the ship in capital letters.

Joining Nolan at the event were Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, Constellation Museum executives David Beck and Christopher Rowsom, and Baltimore postal district director Jacob Cheeks.

"The museum is extremely pleased that USS Constellation will be honored by the commemorative on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of her launch," said Rowsom, the executive director of the Constellation museum. "It is a great opportunity to celebrate the history of the ship and all three ships named Constellation."

The stamp issuance completed a lengthy application process for Constellation.

"Every year, there are thousands of requests," Nolan said concerning the stamp granting process. "Our committee sifts through all of these requests, and they recommend to me which of those stamps they think would be most appropriate. And for us, the Constellation on its 150th anniversary was just too good an opportunity to pass up."

The stamp dedication ceremony also marked the beginning of a five-day tall ship event titled "Sailabration." Sailabration will culminate July 4 with a harbor-wide fireworks display.

Constellation is the last Civil War-era naval vessel still afloat. After serving the Navy for nearly 100 years, the ship currently functions as a floating museum anchored in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

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