2018 50¢ Honoring First Responders
Value: 50¢ 1-ounce First-Class Rate (Forever)
Issue Date: September 13, 2018
First Day City: Missoula, MT
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Ashton Potter
Printing Method: Offset, Microprint
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 60,000,000
In 2018, the USPS issued a stamp to honor first responders. It is the fast acting skills of law enforcement, paramedics, and firefighters that make these individuals our heroes when faced with emergency situations. An often overlooked example is forest fires.
When a wildfire is reported, law enforcement takes quick action to close roads and evacuate towns. They keep ahead of the fast-moving fires to make sure n otown will be caught unaware.
Paramedics rush to treat civilians and other emergency personnel with injuries. Some of their vehicles are equipped to travel off-road so they are able to reach those caught in the blaze.
Many times, smokejumpers are first on the scene of a forest fire. Smokejumpers are firefighters who have been specially trained to jump from planes to remote parts of a forest. They work to control the flames and stop the fire's spread by digging trenches, cutting down trees, and sometimes even starting counter fires.
First responders work together to tackle many different situations to help keep citizens safe. The First Day of Issue Ceremony for this stamp took place in Missoula, Montana, where the largest US smokejumper base is located. This stamp is just one way to give first responders the recognition they deserve.
Peace Officers Memorial Day
On May 15, 1963, the US observed its first Peace Officers Memorial Day. It’s a day that pays tribute to America’s local, state, and federal peace officers who have died or been injured in the line of duty.
On October 1, 1961, the 87th Congress requested President John F. Kennedy establish May 15 as a day to honor the nation’s peace officers. Exactly one year later, President Kennedy signed the bill into law. The bill proclaimed that May 15 would be celebrated as Peace Officers Memorial Day, and that the week during which May 15 occurred would be Police Week.
The act acknowledged that “the police officers of America have worked devotedly and selflessly in behalf of the people of this nation, regardless of the peril or hazard to themselves… have safeguarded the lives and property of their fellow Americans…given our country internal freedom from fear of the violence and civil disorder that is presently affecting other nations… [and] by their patriotic service and their dedicated efforts have earned the gratitude of the Republic.”
Further, the act said it was “To pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and to voice our appreciation for all those who currently serve on the front lines of the battle against crime.” Every year since, America’s presidents have issued proclamations declaring May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day. In 1994, Bill Clinton ordered that US flags be flown at half-staff on that day in recognition of the observances.
While Americans around the country observe the day in their own communities, one of the largest gatherings occurs in Washington, DC. The first such memorial was held in 1982 and has grown and become centered around the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall. Opened in 1991, the 304-foot wall has the names of the 21,183 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty throughout American history. These events are generally sponsored by the National Fraternal Order of Police and overseen by the Fraternal Order of Police Memorial Committee.
Other events that are held during National Police Week include a Blue Mass, candlelight vigil, wreath laying ceremony, National Police Survivors Conference, Honor Guard competition, and the Emerald Society and Pipe Band March and Service. In an average year, some 25,000 to 40,000 officers, families, and other visitors usually attend.
Today, there are currently more than 800,000 law enforcement officers serving in 19,000 different law enforcement agencies.
You can read some previous Peace Officers Memorial Day presidential proclamations here.