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On May 1, 2018, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will celebrate the introduction of flight to the distribution of mail with a free event at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, DC. This celebration marks the 100th anniversary of the implementation of airmail in the United States. Those who can’t attend the event in person are invited to participate digitally on Facebook live through USPS’s Facebook page. To mark this event nationally, the USPS will release commemorative red and blue stamps depicting early twentieth-century planes.

Two Commemorative Stamps

Each of these stamps carry an honorable, symbolic meaning. The blue stamp pays homage to the courage of the early pilots and their commitment to national service. Flying planes in the first quarter of the twentieth century was an incredibly dangerous and difficult practice, and these brave pilots chose to fly in spite of the challenges in early flight. Separately, the red stamps are designed to pay tribute to the mail route established by Army pilots stationed in the United States during World War I on May 15, 1918, which linked Washington, Philadelphia, and New York and began the first mail service distributed through flight. The red stamp will see its release later in the Summer of 2018.

Honor and Recognition

We at United Mail want to honor the importance of flight in the circulation of mail. As a company who strongly advocates for direct mail, we owe a lot to the use of planes and, more importantly, to those who operate them. To give a little more background, this celebration and these stamps illustrate the interconnectedness between the flight and mail industries. Because mail in 1918 began circulation nationally through the use of planes, the airline industry subsequently saw an astronomical growth over the next decade. By 1924, hundreds of modern, lighted airfields were constructed across the United states from New York to San Francisco. With this innovative technology both on the ground and in the air, mail runs could be conducted day and night on every day except for Sunday (when the post office was closed). During this time, mail could be distributed much more quickly and efficiently. Moreover, airmail helped to prove the potential economic benefits of flight in the early twentieth century.

More Stamp Details

The stamps, which resonate the artistic style of the period, are being issued by the USPS as Forever stamps, meaning their value will always equate to a First Class one ounce mail parcel. The biplane depicted on the red and blue stamps is the same aircraft, a Curtiss JN-4H biplane, that featured on a 1918 stamp. This early twentieth-century stamp declared the introduction of a consistent, national airmail delivery service.

Celebrate With Us

So join us at United Mail on May 1, 2018 to commemorate the beginning of airmail. Since we sadly won’t be in Washington, DC for the event, we’ll be tuning in through Facebook live to find out what the USPS has to offer at the Smithsonian. Finally, we enthusiastically look forward to donning these beautiful, newly minted red and blue stamps in your next direct mail campaign.

By Michael Phillips