Nation’s Volunteer Firemen Honored by Postage Stamp
Dover, Delaware, was the scene of impressive ceremonies held in connection with the first day’s sale of the United States postage stamp issued by the nation commemorating three hundred years of “courageous, unselfish service and devotion to duty by our nation’s volunteer firemen.”
The stamp, which is the first ever issued by the Government honoring the fire service, went on sale October 4, 1948, at the Post Office in that city as part of a two-day celebration participated in by the volunteer firemen of the area, and notable visitors.
The opening ceremony took place in front of the postoffice with Dr. H. V. Holloway, former state superintendent of public instruction, as master of ceremonies. Patriotic music was furnished by the Smyrna, Del., Volunteer Firemen’s Band. The invocation was delivered by the Rev. O. A. Bartley, president of Wesley Junior College, with members of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars participating in the presentation of the colors.
Following the singing of the national anthem by Mrs. E. Stuart Outten, J. O. Willis, mayor of Dover, welcomed the visitors and introduced the distinguished guests. He was followed by Delaware’s Governor Walter W. Bacon, who eulogized the volunteers.
The first sale of the new, colorful commemorative stamp was conducted by the Postmaster General’s office after which the person through whose efforts the stamp was realized, Congressman J. Caleb Boggs, told the story of how it came about. Congressman Boggs, who introduced the bill authorizing the adhesive, has had more than a passing attachment for volunteer firemen ever since they saved his home from destruction by fire.
Other speakers who joined in praising the nation’s volunteer firemen were T. Alfred Fleming, National Board of Fire Underwriters; E. N. Dougherty, president, Delaware State Volunteer Firemen’s Association, and Ned H. Dearborn, president, National Safety Council.
A parade of state volunteer fire companies was held on Sunday, the 3rd, with Dover’s vamps serving as hosts to the many visitors. At the conclusion of this event, Robbins Hose Company No. 1 of Dover marked the occasion by laying of the cornerstone for the addition to its apparatus room which is to house two new pumpers.
The new stamp, of which SO million were printed, is of 3c denomination, red in color, and depicts Peter Stuyvesant, “organizer of the first volunteer firemen in America,” flanked on one side by an old-style ‘gooseneck’ tub “enjine” of 300 years ago, and on the other by a modern streamlined pumper.