Purple Heart stamp another chance to promote national pride, O'Mara says

Thomas F. O'Mara

May 05, 2011

Albany, N.Y., May 5—The official unveiling and first-day issuance of the new Purple Heart Forever USA postage stamp takes place today at a ceremony on the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, and State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) is marking the occasion by noting that the effort to designate the stamp began in earnest in the New York State Senate over a decade ago.

The Purple Heart Stamp campaign, as it became known, was initiated in November 2000 by veteran New York Senator William J. Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-On-Hudson).  Larkin, a 23-year Army combat veteran, first called for a letter-writing campaign on the stamp’s behalf.  The Military Order of the Purple Heart, an organization representing veterans wounded in combat, and other veterans’ groups quickly took up Larkin’s call and organized what became a massive and ultimately successful advocacy effort.

The United States Postal Service issued its first Purple Heart stamp in 2003.

“I’m proud to say that my colleague, Senator Bill Larkin of Orange County, helped lead the charge for the Purple Heart stamp,” O’Mara said.  “It gives us another reason and another occasion to remember the sacrifices of all of America’s veterans, past and present.  It gives us the chance to forever honor our servicemen and servicewomen and all they represent for this state and nation.”

Today’s official Postal Service classification as a “Forever” stamp means the Purple Heart postage stamp will continue in circulation and supporters will no longer need to advocate to maintain it each time the price of first-class postage increases.

O’Mara said that today’s Purple Heart stamp ceremony should continue to fuel the resurgence of American patriotism and pride that has swept the nation in the days following the killing of Osama bin Laden.

“It’s been a long, hard decade for our nation, in many different ways, since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  But this week we’ve had the chance to renew our sense of national optimism, pride and strength.  We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of these occasions to mark the greatness of America,” said O’Mara.

O’Mara urged local veterans’ organizations to contact his district office in Elmira (607-735-9671) or by e-mail (omara@nysenate.gov) for additional information on material to promote the Purple Heart Forever stamp.

The Purple Heart is bestowed on military service members wounded or killed in action.  According to the Military Order of the Purple Heart, it’s believed to be the oldest military decoration in the world in present use and the first medal bestowed on common soldiers.