CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (NNS) -- USS Constitution hosted the unveiling of the United States Postal Service (USPS) Forever stamp to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 from the ship's berth in Charlestown, Mass., Aug. 18.
The ceremony also commemorated the ship's historic battle and victory over the HMS Guerriere that took place Aug. 19, 1812, and earned Constitution the nickname "Old Ironsides."
"It is such an honor for Constitution to be immortalized on a Forever stamp," said Cmdr. Matthew Bonner, Constitution's 72nd commanding officer. "And there is no better time than during the bicentennial of the War of 1812 during which Constitution and the Navy played such a pivotal role."
Boston's Postmaster James Holland kicked off the unveiling pier-side to Constitution with more than 200 invited guests, avid stamp collectors and public visitors in attendance.
After the ceremony, the USPS also sold Forever stamps at National Park Service's Charlestown Navy Yard. Twenty-five million stamps will be available for purchase at the USPS' website, phone center and at post offices.
"This is the third time USS Constitution has been part of our stamp program," said Maureen Marion, USPS, manager of corporate communication. "It points to the significance of the ship [and] to our heritage. We are proud to set it sail in the mail again."
The first stamp was a three-cent First Class stamp issued in 1947, commemorating the 150th anniversary of Constitution's launch, and the second was a six-cent non-profit stamped envelope issued in 1985.
"I love the ship," said John Havice, a Constitution stamp and envelope collector. "I have been on a few of the Constitution's turnaround cruises, and I have been collecting USS Constitution covers for 30 years now from all over the world. I can't think of a better place to be for this stamp to be issued. I was here in 1985, and it was a rainy day just like today. It's the perfect spot for this new stamp."
Constitution is the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors per year. She defended the sea lanes against threat from 1797 to 1855.
Constitution's mission today is to offer community outreach and education about the ship's history.
For more information, visit www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution or www.facebook.com/ussconstitutionofficial.
For more information on the bicentennial of the War of 1812,
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