Saturday, June 24, 2017

114. A Very Special Day in Gettysburg

The celebration of the 85th anniversary of the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery began early in the morning of November 19, 1948.  That was the day the Lincoln-Gettysburg three-cent commemorative stamp, authorized by President  Truman, went on sale at our local post office. 
Nancy and I were seniors in high school on that memorable day, and we distinctly remember participating in several of the activities scheduled for the event. 
For example, I bought several stamps at the post office and an equal number of first day covers from one of the many vendors present for the occasion. Then, after addressing the envelopes to myself, I dropped them in the mail so they would be stamped FIRST DAY OF ISSUE on November 19, 1948. Later, I sold those stamped envelopes to a collector for a nice profit.
According to reports, more than 50 postal employees worked in the basement of the post office all week prior to November 19 processing hundreds of thousands of requests for stamps and first day covers from collectors all over the world. The stamp and cover are still for sale on eBay.
Coincidentally, the actual document that President Lincoln held in his hand on November 19, 1863, returned to Gettysburg on November 19, 1948 and was displayed on the Freedom Train which arrived the previous day. That treasured document was obviously one of the main attractions for the thousands of people who passed through the train.
In the next few weeks, Nancy and I will write about other activities which were observed on the 85th anniversary of the dedication of the National Cemetery.

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