Nebraska Statehood

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The Nebraska Statehood stamp celebrates the 150th anniversary of the state’s admission to the union on March 1, 1867. The photograph on this stamp was taken on the banks of the Platte River as sandhill cranes flew low overhead at sunset. At the onset of spring, half a million of these ancient birds return to the river during their annual migration, a spectacle unique to Nebraska. After a day spent feeding in fields nearby, they are seen here scouting for sandbars that provide nighttime roosts safe from riverbank predators.

“Nebraska” is derived from the Otoe and Omaha peoples’ phrase meaning “flat water” and “flat river.” The description originally referred to the wide, shallow river that flows eastward into the Missouri River, which serves as Nebraska’s eastern boundary. On early maps, French explorers labeled the river “Platte,” also meaning “flat.”

Territorial Nebraska was part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the French land sale that nearly doubled U.S. territory. At the time, the territory of Nebraska included not only its present-day area but also portions of present-day Colorado, the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Montana. Enormous buffalo herds on the plains had provided generations of sustenance to the Native American Pawnee people and many other area tribes. Decades after Lewis and Clark explored the newly purchased territory, the U.S. government still considered the land virtually useless—ironic in that Nebraska is now one of the nation’s agricultural giants, particularly in the production of beef, corn, and beans. Nicknamed the Cornhusker State, the 37th state admitted to the union also ranks 37th in population with almost 1.9 million residents.

Famous Nebraskans include former President Gerald Ford, born in Omaha but raised in Michigan, and three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, a populist who helped shape the modern Democratic Party. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody mixed fact and myth in his thrilling Wild West show; his Scout’s Rest Ranch in North Platte is a state historical park. Other celebrated Nebraskans include show business icons Fred Astaire, Henry Fonda, Marlon Brando, and Johnny Carson. Willa Cather’s novels, including O Pioneers! and My Ántonia, masterfully capture Nebraska frontier life.

The Nebraska Statehood stamp is now available for purchase at usps.com/stamps, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide.

Oscar de la Renta

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As one of the world’s leading fashion designers for 50 years, Oscar de la Renta (1932-2014) created glamorous, sophisticated clothes that showcased the distinctively feminine attributes of the women who wore them. His innovative designs and close attention to detail elevated American style and brought international attention to New York as a world leader in fashion.

In 1956, 24-year-old de la Renta achieved his first success as a fashion designer. The wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Spain commissioned de la Renta to make a white debutante dress for her daughter. Later that year, she appeared on the cover of Life wearing the dress. Shortly thereafter, he began working in the Madrid atelier of legendary Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga. De la Renta learned how to work with complex fabric, studied proportions, perfected draping techniques, and gained an understanding of garment construction.

After later breaking into haute couture fashion in Paris, de la Renta moved to New York and began working at Elizabeth Arden in 1963. Two years later, he debuted his own collection for the first time. A rising star along Seventh Avenue, he captured the beauty and ease American women craved in their gowns and suits. He mingled just as confidently with the socialites of New York as he had in Paris and Madrid and sought to create both the day and evening wear that such powerful and influential women desired. With his highly polished style and tremendous skill, de la Renta bridged the gap between American and French fashion.

His garments were regularly featured on the covers of high fashion magazines and became glorious indulgences found in specialty stores around the country. His designs continue to represent the sophistication and international quality of fashion in the United States.

The Oscar de la Renta stamp collection is now available for purchase at usps.com/stamps, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide.

Carriers refuse to let missing street clog up delivery

Las Cruces, NM, Letter Carrier Jeremiah Dyer

Las Cruces, NM, Letter Carrier Jeremiah Dyer

Replacing a sewer line can be a messy job. In Las Cruces, NM, resident Paul Funk’s case, it also required the removal of the street in front of his home. Delivering mail to his address would have been problematic under the circumstances, but his determined carriers didn’t let the absence of easy access to Funk’s mailbox clog up his mail delivery.

Funk snapped a photo of Letter Carrier Jeremiah Dyer going the extra length to deliver his mail. He shared it and an email of thanks to Customer Service Manager Sherri Schnyder praising both Dyer and Ray Flores who dutifully deliver mail to his hard-to-reach mailbox.

“The city of Las Cruces is replacing sewer and water lines in front of our rental house, and there is a hole that could hide a freight train where the street used to be,” said Funk in his email. “Yet every day letters appear in the box at the end of our driveway! I was impressed by his fortitude last week when I saw our letter carrier climbing the sand pile to reach the door of the mailbox, which of course faced the wrong way for access by foot. I snapped a picture. The next day I asked our other letter carrier, who makes the same herculean effort, how I could share the photo (thinking there might be a journal or newsletter for postal workers?) and he provided your contact info.

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor missing street, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” added Funk.

Elderly woman falls after trash haul – rescued by local carrier

West Plains, MO, CDS Driver Greg Krecker

West Plains, MO, CDS Driver Greg Krecker

West Plains, MO, CDS Driver Greg Krecker was on his route recently when he spotted a customer on the ground. The woman had fallen while attempting to return trash cans from the curb to her home and was unable to get up on her own. Though the weather was clear, the freezing temperature outside made a lengthy stay on the cold, hard concrete hazardous at best.

Krecker approached the woman and asked if she needed help. The customer accepted the offer and provided Krecker with her son’s cell phone number. Not long after Krecker connected with the man, the son arrived and worked with Krecker to take the injured woman inside her home. She received prompt medical care and suffered no permanent damage as a result of the fall.

The mother-in-law of the injured woman, Lori Young, expressed her family’s gratitude for Krecker’s help in a letter to the editor sent to the West Plains Daily Quill.

“We are very grateful to him for everything he did and continues to do,” Young stated in her letter. “I firmly believe that angels do walk among us, but if you ever want to meet one, just head on down to the West Plains Post Office.”

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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This stamp commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), 35th president of the United States. Kennedy was the nation’s first Catholic president and, at age 43, the youngest person ever elected to the nation’s highest office.

The stamp features a photograph taken by Ted Spiegel of Kennedy campaigning for president in Seattle, Washington, in 1960. The selvage art, showing President Kennedy in a reflective pose, is a 1970 oil painting by Aaron Shikler (courtesy of the White House Historical Association).

Kennedy was known for his charismatic personality and his ability to appeal to the nation’s higher ideals and to inspire young Americans to engage in public service. In his Inaugural Address, he called upon Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country.”

In the early months of his administration, Kennedy announced his signature initiative, the Peace Corps, to aid poor people in developing nations. In May 1961, Kennedy announced the bold goal of landing a man on the moon before the end of the decade, setting the nation on the path toward achieving the historic moon landing in 1969.

As the leader of the Free World during the height of the Cold War, Kennedy confronted the Soviet Union in a series of conflicts that could have escalated into a major war. The most dangerous of these was the Cuban Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962, when Soviet forces installed nuclear missiles in Cuba. Resisting the urging of his military advisers to bomb the missile sites, Kennedy opted instead for a naval “quarantine” and negotiations to convince Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to remove the missiles, thus defusing a world crisis.

On November 22, 1963, while riding with his wife Jacqueline in an open car thronged by cheering crowds in Dallas, Texas, Kennedy was shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald. His violent and tragic death at age 46 left the nation grief-stricken and was one of the darkest moments in our history.

The John Fitzgerald Kennedy stamp is now available for purchase at usps.com/stamps, at
800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide.

Dorothy Height

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The 40th stamp in the Black Heritage series honors Dorothy Height (1912–2010), the tireless activist who dedicated her life to fighting for racial and gender equality. Although she rarely gained the recognition granted her male contemporaries, she became one of the most influential civil rights leaders of the 20th century.

In 1963, the Height-led National Council of Negro Women joined the Council for United Civil Rights Leadership. Height was an architect of the August 1963 March on Washington, where she shared the stage with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, but unlike several of her male colleagues, Height did not speak at the landmark event. It was Height, however, who pushed to include a voice of youth like John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and insisted on no time limits for King’s speech.

The need for gender equality was important to Height, who fought for the rights of women, particularly women of color. President John F. Kennedy named her to his Commission on the Status of Women (which was chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt); she attended the 1963 White House ceremony at which he signed the Equal Pay Act. In 1971, she helped form the National Women’s Political Caucus.

In 1977, Height officially retired from the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), for which she worked for 40 years. In addition to numerous honorary degrees, Height received the nation’s two highest civilian honors. In 1994, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A decade later, President George W. Bush presented her with the Congressional Gold Medal. In 2009, she was a guest of Barack Obama when he was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

The Dorothy Height stamp is now available for purchase at usps.com/stamps, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide.

“You make us proud” – safe drivers celebrate success

Denver, CO, Downtown Station City Carriers

Denver, CO, Downtown Station City Carriers

Denver, CO, Downtown Station recently held a congratulatory celebration for nineteen city carriers who received the National Safety Council’s Million Mile Award. The safe driving award is granted to drivers for having driven the equivalent of one million miles, or 30 years, without a preventable accident. Acting Colorado/Wyoming District Manager Rick Pivovar called the recognition “unprecedented.”

“I’ve never heard of one place with so many safe drivers at once,” said Pivovar. “You are to be commended.”

Denver Postmaster Mark Talbott noted that the accomplishment is especially complimentary of the fact that the carriers deliver in a crowded metropolitan space.

“You make us proud,“ said Talbott.

Post Office tour boosts students’ letter writing skills

Stanford, MT, Retail Associate Sarah Bracha teaches the craft of letter writing to local students.

Stanford, MT, Retail Associate Sarah Bracha teaches the craft of letter writing to local students.

Stanford, MT, Retail Associate Sarah Bracha and Postmaster Kristina Hill became local holiday celebrities this past season with children. To inspire them to hone their letter crafting skills, Bracha and Hill visited the local elementary school and discussed letter writing with the young students and how to address letters. They also took Letters to Santa templates, holiday stickers, and a festive poem to aid students in the letter writing process.

“Both the teachers and students enjoyed it immensely,” said Hill.

Beyond classroom visits, Bracha and Hill gave kindergartners, pre-kindergartners and homeschooled students a tour of the Post Office. They also assisted homeschooled children with their letter writing ability at the Post Office during their visit.

Home flooding averted thanks to keen-eyed carrier

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The Postmaster of Littleton, CO, received a letter from a customer who wanted to thank her letter carrier, Jon Crane, for stopping … a home flood.

A pipe leading outdoors to a sprinkler system had burst during a cold snap while the customer was away from home. While on his route, Crane noticed the gushing water, walked over and turned off the valve.

“He was the reason my basement had only two inches of water instead of two feet, saving our home untold damage,” the customer wrote.

Community Day celebrates student education

North Platte, NE, Postmaster Pam Erickson with North Platte High School students

North Platte, NE, Postmaster Pam Erickson with North Platte High School students

During Community Day at the North Platte High School in Nebraska, a group of students in a special needs class took the opportunity to go to the North Platte Post Office to visit with Postmaster Pam Erickson and learn more about postal operations. Erickson was thrilled at the chance to teach the students about the Postal Service. She also provided stationery and envelopes so the students could write personal letters to family members.

“As they were (writing letters) you could see the pride they had in writing them,” said Erickson. “It was a great way to promote letter writing with an incredible group of students as well as teach them about various businesses within their community.”

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