The American Lighthouse Foundation has announced a
nationwide petition drive for a postage stamp that would
honor the United States Lighthouse Service.
“Although there have been a number of postage stamps issued over the years with lighthouses on them, there has never been a postage stamp issued to specifically honor the United States Lighthouse Service,” said Tim Harrison, President of the American Lighthouse Foundation, a nationwide non profit group dedicated to saving lighthouses and their history.
Harrison said, “The last two sets of lighthouse postage stamps were issued to honor the lighthouses as historic structures, but not for the old U.S. Lighthouse Service. Established in 1789, the U.S. Lighthouse Service was one of the oldest branches of the government of the United States until it was dissolved in 1939.”
“There have been postage stamps issued to honor numerous branches of the government of the United States, but never for the Lighthouse Service which played such an important role in the development of our nation,” Harrison said. He went on to say that he would like to see a postage stamp featuring the original emblem of the United States Lighthouse Service, which was a lighthouse with a wheat leaf cluster.
Harrison introduced the idea at last weekends Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Keepers Descendants Homecoming held in Buxton, NC, the largest event of its kind ever held in the world. Harrison drew thunderous applause when he made the proposal to the 1400 lighthouse keeper descendants in attendance.
Most lighthouse fans want to take the issue one step further, saying they also believe it is also time for a series of postage stamps also honoring the individual lighthouse keepers of the U.S. Lighthouse Service. Harrison believes that very few Americans have any knowledge of the lighthouse keepers who kept watch over our nation’s shores while suffering hardship and performing acts of bravery and heroism that few of us today can possibly imagine.
“Although more and more Americans are becoming aware of lighthouses through their vacations and a number of recent television documentaries, very few actually know much about their history,” Harrison says. He went on to say that a number of states now feature lighthouses on their license plates. Many churches and businesses use a lighthouse on their logos, but, few people know how and why lighthouses were built and fewer even know about the families who took care of these lighthouses.
Harrison went on to say that the United States Postal Service has issued postage stamps to honor presidents, war heroes, movie stars, rock stars and even cartoon characters and “The time has come to also honor America’s lighthouse keepers.”
“Their memories and stories must never be forgotten,” says Harrison, who is also editor of the Lighthouse Digest magazine. He continued, “Postage stamps would help not only keep alive those memories but also draw public attention to the nationwide non profit groups efforts to save and restore the lighthouses. It would also help in locating and documenting the stories of the brave men and women who tended these beacons, which are among the oldest standing structures in America.”
Anyone wishing to help in the cause can obtain preprinted petition forms by writing to the American Lighthouse Foundation, P.O. Box 889, Wells, Maine 04090 or emailing Timh@Lhdigest.com.
This story appeared in the
June 2001 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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