29¢ Turning the Tide
World War II Sheet
Issue Date: May 31, 1993
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
World War II was the most significant event of the 20th century. The U.S. Postal Service began planning for the war’s 50th anniversary in 1985. It wanted to honor key events of the war effort as well as the various endeavors that contributed to the Allied victory. But how to do that without producing a thousand stamps?
The solution was a series of sheetlets, one for each year of the war, that consisted of a large center map framed by five stamps on the top and five on the bottom. Five years of commemorating World War II yielded five sheets and a total of 50 stamps – enough for an honorable tribute and enough to accomplish Postal Service goals.
The world maps are masterpieces of thumbnail summaries. They call attention to the major military and political developments of the year and include events not featured on the individual stamps. Color coded for easy identification of friend and foe, they’re “a year in summary” at a glance. Entitled “1943: Turning the Tide,” U.S. #2765 is the third sheet in the series of five.
During the early days of World War I, Service Flags, which were displayed from homes, businesses, churches, and schools, bore a Blue Star to indicate the number of individuals from each family or organization that were serving in the Armed Forces.
As the war progressed and the number of men and women killed in combat increased daily, it was suggested that a Gold Star be used to signify the memory of an American soldier. It was felt that the Gold Star would not only bring glory and honor to the individual who had offered his life for his country, but that it would also give the family a feeling of pride in their sacrifice rather than a sense of personal loss. For every man or woman who died in the line of duty, a Gold Star was placed over the Blue Star. During World War II and the Korean War, this practice was continued.
In 1928, a group of 25 mothers met to organize the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. Open to any mother whose son or daughter has died in the line of duty or from wounds sustained in such service, this organization has chapters in all fifty states and continues to work closely with all veterans organizations. In 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mothers Day.