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Congressman Cleaver Pushes for Creation of a World War I Commemorative Stamp Series

Jun 17, 2015
Press Release

Today, Congressman Cleaver sent a letter to the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee calling for the creation of a series of commemorative stamps to be issued in 2017, 2018, and 2019 in memory of World War I.

“These stamps will allow us to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of World War I,” stated Congressman Cleaver. “July 28th of this year will mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I and the day Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. The United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917 and the year 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice with Germany, ending World War I battlefield hostilities. The Treaty of Versailles, formally ending the war, was signed by Germany and the Allied Nations on June 28, 1919.  It has taken far too long for us to adequately honor the more than four million men and women from the United States who served during World War I. Now is the time to pay our tribute.”

Congressman Cleaver has worked to honor the memory of World War I veterans in numerous ways, even during his tenure as Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri. Most recently, Rep. Cleaver fought for the passage of the American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, which directs the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of this centennial. Additionally, Congressman Cleaver secured passage of an amendment to designate the Liberty Memorial at America's National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, as the “National World War I Museum and Memorial.” The amendment re-designated Pershing Park in Washington, DC as the “National World War I Memorial.”

The text of the letter is available below. Led by Congressman Cleaver, the 112th Congress established the WWI Centennial Commission to plan, develop, and execute programs, projects, and activities to commemorate the centennial of World War I.  The Commission has not been authorized any federal taxpayer dollars and is funded through donations and potential coin sales.

Dear Members of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee,

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of being present at the White House when President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army Sergeant William Shemin and Army Private Henry Johnson for conspicuous gallantry during World War I. The year 2017 will mark the centennial of America’s first engagement in World War I and commemoration of the anniversary will consist of educational and interactive events nationwide, including the construction and dedication of the National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C.  The U.S. Mint will begin circulation of a WWI Commemorative Coin in 2018 to celebrate those who served. It seems fitting for the United States Postal Service to join in honoring the memory of World War I, its role in American and world history, and its veterans with a commemorative series of stamps from 2017-2019.

The United States Postal Service has a history of memorializing significant historical events through stamps, including the 100th Anniversary of the Civil War, World War II, Vietnam War Veterans, Korean War Veterans, Desert Storm-Desert Shield, Rough Riders 50th Anniversary, and the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, but no stamp exists to honor the brave veterans of World War I.  

More than four million men and women from the United States served in uniform during World War I and over two million American soldiers served overseas in our pursuit for peace. Issuing a series of stamps would allow us to pay tribute to the diversity of American involvement in World War I hostilities while honoring the memory, service, and sacrifice of over four million outstanding Americans. 

Once again, I ask the Committee to give careful consideration to a series of postage stamps commemorating World War I. Between the World War I Centennial Commission, the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and the hundreds of state and local organizations working on this effort, I believe there would be significant interest in these stamps. It is time to pay tribute to the great sacrifices made by these brave Americans. 

Warmest Regards,

Emanuel Cleaver, II

Member of Congress                    

 

Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee's Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, and also a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.