Next month, on Feb. 20, our American friends will celebrate Washington’s Birthday, a U.S. federal holiday held on the third Monday of each February.
Also known as Presidents Day, the celebration dates back to the late 1700s, when George Washington was still serving as president of the U.S. About a century later, Washington’s birthday—Feb. 22—became a federal holiday. Since the Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect on Jan. 1, 1971, it has been celebrated on the designated third Monday of February.
JFK FOREVER STAMP
On Feb. 20, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will commemorate the centennial of President John F. Kennedy’s birth by dedicating a Forever stamp in his honour at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
The stamp features a 1960 photograph by Ted Spiegel of Kennedy campaigning for the presidency in Seattle. The artwork accompanying the stamp—showing Kennedy in a reflective pose—is a 1970 oil painting by Aaron Shikler. The Forever stamp, available only at the event on Presidents Day, will be available nationwide in Post Offices Feb. 21.
Later this month, customers can pre-order the stamps for delivery after Feb. 21 at usps.com/shop.
“Our family is honoured that the Postal Service is commemorating my grandfather with this stamp,” said Jack Schlossberg, grandson of John F. Kennedy. “As we mark the centennial of his birth, we hope that the stamp will be an enduring symbol of President Kennedy’s call for service, innovation, and inclusion, and his belief that we each have the power to make this world a better place.”
Born May 29, 1917, Kennedy was the 35th president of the U.S. He remains for many a captivating and charismatic personality that appealed to the nation’s higher ideals and inspired young Americans to engage in public service.
On Jan. 20, 1961, at age 43, Kennedy became the nation’s first Catholic president and the youngest person elected to the presidency. In his Inaugural Address, he famously 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 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.
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. During the summer of 1961, for example, he defended the status of West Berlin, a small pocket of freedom within Soviet-supported East Germany, when it came under threat from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.
Kennedy opposed Khrushchev again in the fall of 1962 after Soviet forces installed nuclear missiles in Cuba. Against the urging of his military advisers to bomb the missile sites, Kennedy decided on a naval quarantine to prevent further shipments of military equipment to Cuba. After suspenseful days in which war appeared imminent, Soviet ships heading to Cuba turned back, and Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles.
On June 11, 1963, Kennedy made an impassioned speech on civil rights that characterized the unequal status and treatment of blacks in America as a moral crisis. He then submitted a bill to end racial segregation, which in substance was passed after his death as the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. His death at age 46 left the nation grief-stricken, all the more so because of the unrealized potential of his presidency.
PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD J. TRUMP
Later this week, on Jan. 20, USPS will issue a postmark for the inauguration of Donald J. Trump in Washington, D.C.
The postmark features a circular datestamp reading “WASHINGTON DC” around the top of the circle and “20066” around the bottom, and in the centre is the date “JAN 20 2017”. To the right of the datestamp are four horizontal bars with the words “PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION DAY STATION” in the middle.
This inauguration postmark is a departure from the previous two postmarks—featuring large pictorial postmarks with the Great Seal of the United States—issued in honour of the 2009 and 2013 inaugurations of President Barack Obama.
To receive the Trump Inauguration Day postmark, mail your request to the following address:
- Presidential Inauguration Day Station, Postmaster, 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002-9998