The veterans of all U.S. wars, past and present, will tell you that General Sherman was right. "War is Hell." But the nation does not forget its heroes -- and the U.S. Postal Service remembers, too.
This year, the Postal Service remembered, with all fanfare and publicity, the Americans who served during World War II with the issuance of a new 37-cent stamp featuring the just-completed National War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C. The stamp illustration shows the Rainbow Pool and one of the two large memorial arches with rows of pillars in the background.
Last year (2003), a special 37-cent stamp was issued depicting the Korean War Memorial in the nation's capital. This stamp was of unusual design vividly portraying 19 steel statues of Army troops on patrol in wedge formation. The Korean War Memorial stamp also included a Pool of Remembrance.
The Korean War stamp design deserves special mention because of it's awe-inspiring presentation which comes to life on a mere postage stamp.
Photographer John W. Alli, who served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Desert Storm conflict, said he hoped to convey the bitter cold of a Korean winter in his stamp design. When he arrived in Washington to take the photos there was a terrible blizzard. He thought "This is nothing compared to what those solders had to endure."
Perhaps we Americans have forgotten the Korean war because it was overshadowed by World War II, which ended less than four years prior to the outbreak of hostilities in Korea. Although lasting three years, the Korean conflict ended inconclusively without the closure we usually expect in a frustrating stalemate with no winner or loser.
During the Korean war, the U.S. Armed Forces suffered 33,665 killed in action. A total of 1,789,000 Americans served in the Korean theater during the years from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953. There are still 8,176 MIAs ( Missing in Action).
One of the ironies for America is that its troops are still in Korea today -- and North Korea is still considered an enemy.
We cannot forget that there is another War Memorial in Washington D.C. dedicated to the Vietnam veterans. The USPS has issued two stamps paying tribute to these heroes. A 15-cent stamp in 1979 depicted a battle ribbon and the inscription "Honoring Vietnam Vets." A 20-cent stamp released in 1984 portrayed the solemn wall listing the names of those killed in the conflict.
Thus we have seen three wars with their tragic casualties in a little more than 50 years -- and another conflict in progress in the Middle East.
"Lest We Forget!"
These U.S. stamps described above depicting these memorial can be obtained at your local stamp dealer. Some may be available at your local post office.