U.S. # 4797
2013 46¢ Flag in Summer
A Flag for All Seasons
During the summer of 1969, the U.S. flag was planted on the moon. The Apollo 11 lunar landing was the first in history, and it was said to signal U.S. superiority over Russia. In reality, only a tragic quirk of fate kept the landing from being a joint mission that may have hastened the end of the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia.
The Soviets had successfully launched a satellite into orbit in 1957, sending fear across America. Shortly after his 1961 inauguration, John F. Kennedy announced his goal of winning the “space race” by landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
While scientists worked on making the dream a reality, Kennedy was occupied by a series of events that nearly brought the U.S. to war with Russia. By September 1963, tensions eased and Kennedy issued a surprising proposal during an address to the United Nations – a U.S.-Soviet mission to the moon. Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev refused the offer.
According to his son, Khrushchev changed his mind in the weeks that followed. But the November 22, 1963 assassination of the American President ended the negotiations. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong planted the first of six United States flags on the moon’s surface. The U.S. is the only nation to claim that honor.
Laura Stutzman of Maryland created the patriotic gouache illustrations from her own photographs for the Flag for All Seasons stamps. Each of the four stamps in the issue pictures the U.S. flag, as seen from below, with the trees and sky representing the season.
Value: 46¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: August 8, 2013
First Day City: Milwaukee, WI
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Avery Dennison
Method: Photogravure printing in double-sided panes of 20 (convertible booklet format)
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 11 ½ x 11 ½
Quantity Printed: 1,250,000 stamps
Though America’s flag had previously been used many times as a secondary design element, it wasn’t the subject of a stamp until 1957 (U.S. #1094). Since the 1980s, it has become a regular practice to issue stamps picturing the U.S. flag in a variety of scenes, including different locations and times of day.