The United States Postal Service honored 41st President George H.W. Bush with a Forever Stamp on Wednesday, Bush’s 95th birthday.
Strategic Communications Specialist for the USPS, Kanickewa Johnson said presidential stamps are items that customers are always excited to collect, and are a way to remember former presidents.
“We absolutely are excited about honoring president Bush with this stamp unveiling,” Johnson said. “Throughout the history of the postal service, we’ve honored our presidents this way. It gives the public an opportunity as well to have a token of part of his legacy.”
The dedication ceremony and first day of issue for the Forever Stamp was held at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center on Wednesday. The event honored president Bush’s legacy and character with remarks from guest speakers including Pierce Bush, the grandson of Bush, and Jean Becker former chief of staff for the Bush administration.
The speakers each told their favorite memories and recollections about the former president, and highlighted how his love for writing letters touched each one of them.
“When president Bush left office, people of course encouraged him to write his memoir,” Becker said. “He was rather allergic to this idea. The good news was that he had already written his memoirs through literally the tens of thousands of letters he had written throughout his lifetime. Put together, they told the story of a man whose life was rich, exciting, important and just plain fun.”
Bush served office from 1989 to 1993, and passed last year on Nov. 30. His administration's accomplishments include helping the United States exit the Cold War era peacefully, passing civil rights legislation for Americans with disabilities and passing the Clean Air Act.
Among the many Bryan- College Station residents, students, faculty and special guest speakers, many stamp collectors also attended the event for the first issue of the stamps. Lyle Boardman traveled from Austin and has been collecting stamps for over 60 years.
“I think the program was one of the best I’ve ever seen,” Boardman said. “So often it’s postal officials who are reading a script somebody else wrote. But most of the people there today were people who knew president Bush and had worked with him and that made this event very special.”
Boardman said he hopes to pass his interest in stamps and his collection on to his grandchildren because of Bush.
“[President Bush] was a great letter writer and a great grandfather,” Boardman said. “I’m a grandfather too and I’m more inspired now to do better.”
Pierce said the stamp is more than a symbol of his grandfather’s legacy, it is a reminder of who he really was.
“It was through this particular medium throughout the entirety of his great American life that my grandfather’s true heartbeat came alive,” Pierce said. “As a man who struggled to sometimes articulate through spoken word or in public speeches, he never once struggled to express himself when penning and mailing a letter.”