Digest>Archives> August 2005

Wickie's Wisdom

Will the Lighthouse Service Ever be Honored?

By Timothy Harrison


Last month, I wrote in this column about the importance of honoring the men and women of the United States Lighthouse Service, which was dissolved in 1939, and I’m going to keep on doing it until the honors are bestowed.

I’ve just heard that another set of United States postage stamps will be issued, depicting the lighthouses of the Pacific. They will make a great addition to the previous Great American Lighthouses, Great Lakes Lighthouses, and Southeastern Lighthouses postage stamps as well as other stamps previously issued that featured a variety of other lighthouses over the years. However, these postage stamps only honor and depict the actual towers. They do not honor the old Lighthouse Service or the men and women who served at them to help make our nation the great country that it is today.

As far back as 1995, I started asking for the public’s help in getting these postage stamps issued. In 2001, we even held a nationwide petition drive and sent in thousands of signatures to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee. Still, no postage stamps have been announced. I will not give up, but your help is needed.

Postage stamps have been issued to honor all of the military branches including the Coast Guard. Postage stamps have been issued to honor many famous Americans as well as birds, animals, movie stars, rock stars, and even cartoon characters, but not the Lighthouse Service. How can we expect the general public, especially the younger generation, to realize the importance of learning about American history if our nation’s Postal Service can’t or won’t? After all, one can learn more about early American history from studying lighthouses than from any other single source.

So I’m going to keep asking you to write individual letters to request postage stamps that feature the emblems or logos that the United States Lighthouse Service used during its existence from 1789 to 1939. We need to also request postage stamps honoring some of the notable lighthouse people such as Stephen Pleasonton, George Putnam, Ida Lewis, Abbie Burgess, Joshua Strout, Julia Williams, I.P.W. Lewis, and others.

Organize school groups, lighthouse groups, preservation organizations, women’s clubs, history groups, and neighborhood organizations to send letters. Large numbers can make a difference. Notify your local television and radio stations; send letters to the editors of your local newspapers asking for their support in having citizens write letters. Think of all the clever things you can do to help; the ideas can be endless.

It is time to make things right. Send your letters requesting postage stamps to honor the United States Lighthouse Service and the men and women who served at them to:

Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee

Stamp Development

1735 North Lynn St., Room 5013

Arlington, VA 22209-6432

This story appeared in the August 2005 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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