This Day in History… February 3, 1998

Celebrate the Century Series 

US #3182 was issued on this day in 1998.

On February 3, 1998, the USPS issued the first sheet in the Celebrate the Century Series.

As America approached the end of the century, the USPS sought a way to honor the wide variety of events that had taken place. This led them to the massive 150-stamp Celebrate the Century Series.

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This Day in History… February 2, 1887

Happy Groundhog Day! 

U.S. #2307 – Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks.

On February 2, 1887, the first official Groundhog Day event was held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

However, the tradition dates back much farther to the Christian holiday known as Candlemas Day. Historically, on February 2, members of the clergy would bless and pass out candles for the winter. These candles represented how long and cold winter would be.

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This Day in History… February 1, 1978

Black Heritage Series 

U.S. #1744 was issued on this day in 1978.

On February 1, 1978, the USPS issued the first stamp in its now longest-running series, Black Heritage.

The first US stamp to commemorate an African American was US #873, honoring Booker T. Washington as part of the 1940 Famous Americans Series. Over the next 30 years, other stamps honored famous African Americans such as Frederick Douglas and W.C. Handy. But a big change would come in the mid-1970s.

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This Day in History… January 31, 1958

Launch of Explorer I 

U.S. #3187d from the Celebrate the Century: 1950s sheet.

Late in the evening of January 31, 1958, the US launched its first satellite, Explorer I.

After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union struggled to stay one step ahead of each other in space exploration. Both countries made substantial advancements during this time, but Russia was first to launch an artificial satellite, much to America’s chagrin.

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This Day in History… January 30, 1968

Tet Offensive

U.S. #1802 was issued on Veteran’s Day in 1979.

On January 30, 1968, the North Vietnamese Army launched a surprise attack on South Vietnam during the Tet (New Year) holiday truce.

The North Vietnamese began planning their General Offensive and Uprising in April 1967. They believed that the government in Saigon was so unpopular in the South that an attack on major cities there would lead the citizens to revolt, guaranteeing a swift victory and an end to calls for peace talks. Throughout the second half of 1967, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers moved 81,000 tons of supplies and 200,000 troops across the border.

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This Day in History… January 29, 1940

Famous Americans Series Begins 

U.S. #859 was issued on this day in 1940.

On January 29, 1940, the US Post Office Department issued the first stamps in the Famous Americans Series.

In 1938, the Post Office Department announced plans for a series of stamps recognizing 10 famous Americans and invited the public to submit recommendations. The response was so great that it was decided to increase the number from 10 to 35. This required an unexpected level of organization by the Post Office Department for this series.

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Posted in January 2018, This Day in History | 5 Comments