February 2016

This Day in History… February 23, 1836

Remember the Alamo!

U.S. #1043 – The Alamo has been called the “Shrine of Texas Liberty”

On February 23, 1836, the Battle of the Alamo began.

Around 1718, the Spanish built a mission, San Antonio de Valero, in San Antonio. The mission, which consisted of a monastery and church surrounded by a high wall, later came to be known as “the Alamo,” after the Spanish word for the cottonwood trees that surrounded it. The people of Texas occasionally used the mission as a fort.

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This Day in History… February 22, 1732

Happy Birthday George Washington

U.S. #2 – For his contributions to our nation, Washington was honored on America’s second postage stamp.

Our first President, George Washington, was born on February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

Washington’s father died when he was young, halting his plans to study abroad. George’s older half-brother and mentor, Lawrence, took him under his wing and taught him how to farm and survey land. In 1749, George joined a party that explored and surveyed the land west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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This Day in History… February 21, 1965

Malcolm X Assassinated

U.S. #3273 – Malcolm X was the 22nd honoree in the Black Heritage Series.

On February 21, 1965, activist Malcolm X was assassinated in New York City.

Born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska, Malcolm X was the fourth of eight children. His father was preacher Earl Little, a member of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and a follower of Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Malcolm’s family was frequently targeted by the Ku Klux Klan, leading his father to move them to East Lansing, Michigan. Continue reading

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This Day in History… February 20, 1792

Washington Establishes U.S. Post Office

U.S. #O55 – An 1873 Official stamp issued for use by Post Office Department employees.

On February 20, 1792, George Washington signed the Postal Service Act, creating the U.S. Post Office.

In the days before the American Revolution, letters were delivered by private couriers. Over time, individual colonies created their own informal post offices in shops and taverns, where riders or carriages could pick up and drop off mail. The British government appointed the first postmaster general in 1707 to help coordinate mail service in the colonies.

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This Day in History… February 19, 1945

U.S. Marines Land on Iwo Jima

U.S. #929 was controversial when it was released because it pictured living people. But it went on to become very popular.

On February 19, 1945, the Battle of Iwo Jima began.

By early 1945, Japan had lost most of its empire and faced certain defeat, but its soldiers continued to fight. To make their Pacific campaign successful, the Allies needed more bases. In particular, they needed a place where their damaged B-29 bombers could land and be repaired without having to travel all the way to the Mariana Islands. A tiny island approximately 750 miles south of Japan became their primary target – Iwo Jima. At the time, Iwo Jima was occupied by about 21,000 Japanese army and navy troops.

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This Day in History… February 18, 1885

Mark Twain Publishes Huckleberry Finn

U.S. #2787The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was honored in 1993 in the Children’s Classics set.

On February 18, 1885, Huckleberry Finn was released in America.

Growing up along the banks of the Mississippi River, Mark Twain (the pen name of Samuel Clemens) longed for a life of excitement. By the time he was 30, he’d worked as a steamboat pilot, served briefly during the Civil War, and tried his hand at searching for gold. While working for a newspaper, Twain discovered his knack for story telling and he knew he found his calling.

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Posted in February 2016, This Day in History | 16 Comments