The U.S. Merchant Marine has long played an important role in America's security and economic growth. And last month, the U.S. Postal Service honored our merchant mariners with the release of four stamps commemorating historic ships that played vital roles in our nation's history.
The new stamps, which were unveiled at dedication ceremonies in New York, Los Angeles, and Baltimore, are now among the 60 million "Forever" stamps available and in circulation today. Their release coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, which helped further the development of America's merchant marine and promote U.S. commerce.
The ships featured in the stamp collection are:
- The Clipper Ship--Ushered in by the California Gold Rush of 1849, Clipper ships set numerous speed records in their time and are known for their streamlined shape and square-rigged sails.
- The Auxiliary Steamship--These steam-powered ships with back-up sailing rigs were the ocean liners of their day, competing in the 1850s with clipper and other sailing ships for trans-Atlantic mail and passenger service.
- The Liberty Ship--These plain, but sturdy, cargo vessels helped sustain the Allied forces with a steady supply of food and war material during World War II.
- The Containership--Pioneered in the 1950s, containerships are key to today’s global economy, carrying manufactured goods worldwide across the oceans and exemplifying the modern merchant marine.
But these stamps aren't just about the ships--they're reminders of the men and women who have honorably served our country as members of the U.S. Merchant Marine. I'm extraordinarily grateful for their efforts, and I look forward to seeing this token of appreciation on letters and packages across America for years to come.