WASHINGTON (NNS) -- U.S. Navy and United States Postal Service (USPS) officials gathered at the U.S. Navy Memorial Feb. 4 for a first-day-of-issue stamp dedication ceremony of the Distinguished Sailors Stamps.
The free public event that drew more than 250 people honored four Sailors, who appear on new 44-cent commemorative first-class stamps.
USPS officials say they hope the Distinguished Sailors Stamps will help to immortalize William S. Sims, Arleigh A. Burke, John McCloy and Doris "Dorie" Miller, who served with bravery and distinction during the 20th century.
"I am pleased to honor these four great Sailors who impacted our nation and world," said John E. Potter, USPS postmaster general. "These brave individuals represent the U.S. Navy's proud legacy of service to this nation. Their example is an inspiration to every American."
Juan Garcia, assistant secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, reflected on the diversity of the Sailors featured on the new stamps.
"This wildly diverse group is tied together by their love of country and their fearless courage under fire," said Garcia. "It's a diversity reflected in today's Navy mission itself."
In addition to stamp collectors and naval historians, relatives of the Sailors being honored came to Washington from various parts of the country to attend the event. For some relatives of these Sailors, the stamp series has inspired new interest in their family history.
"I was of course very pleased at the news of the stamp. I am glad that younger generations will perhaps get to know these four distinguished sailors," said Anne Hopkins, granddaughter of William Sims.
"Although I grew up knowing of my grandfather mostly as a World War I leader..., I have only come to appreciate this in the past couple of years, and through the discussions related to the stamp," Hopkins said of her grandfather, who died in 1936 when she was six years old.
Although the honored Sailors are not alive, they were still remembered as shipmates.
"They are our shipmates; we still think of them that way," said Vice Admiral Sam J. Locklear III, director, Navy Staff.
"These Sailors in their own way, and in their own time, all exemplified in every way the basic core values of our Navy, which are honor, courage and commitment," said Locklear. "I like to imagine that while we are having this ceremony today they are somewhere all looking down on this event."
Locklear said the Sailors would probably all be surprised that their faces were showing up on U.S. stamps.
"I can only imagine the conversation they would likely be having between themselves," said Locklear. "They are probably all amused."
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail and may purchase new stamps at their local post office, at The Postal Store at www.usps.com/shop or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in a larger envelope addressed to: Distinguished Sailors Stamps, Special Cancellations, PO Box 92282, Washington, DC 20090-2282.
For more news from Naval District Washington, visit www.navy.mil/local/ndw/.