Long-awaited stamp honoring miners is available tomorrow
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Summit Hill Postal Office clerk Chris Iezzoni holds sheet of 12 forever stamps depicting early 20th century workers, including a coal miner, a steel worker, and a garment worker. In the background at the post office is artwork of the Switchback Railroad in Summit Hill, which is part of the community's coal mining heritage. The Switchback was vital to delivering coal to markets.
A long-sought stamp honoring coal miners is finally becoming available.
It's not exactly what petitioners in the anthracite coal region had sought, but it's still an impressive stamp.
The miners image is on a sheet of 12 stamps. The sheet is entitled "Made in America. Building a Nation."
The forever stamps, which honor numerous occupations including the steel industry, go on sale at post offices tomorrow.
For at least a decade, miners have been appealing to the U.S. Postal Service to issue a stamp saluting coal miners. The appeals had seemingly fallen on deaf ears.
At one point, former TIMES NEWS editor Bob Urban led a petition drive for the miners stamp. Several thousand signatures were obtained. The petition was sent to federal officials and the Postal Service.
Still, it wasn't enough to generate the stamp.
On June 29, 2010, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives adopted a resolution to urge the Postal Service to issue a coal miners stamp.
The resolution was signed by 84 legislators, including then House Speaker Keith McCall of Summit Hill.
"Made in America. Building a Nation" stamps honor the early 20th century workers who helped build America.
The U.S. Postal Service, in its release on the stamps, says, "Industrial workers' contributions were essential to the growth of the modern United States. Coal miners often braved dangerous conditions to do their jobs. Coal, the fruit of their labor, was used to make coke for steel, which formed the foundation of our cities' majestic buildings.
"Iron workers, including riveters and welders, spent the early part of the 20th century erecting skyscrapers like the Empire State Building."
It adds, "As the photographs on these stamps attest, women's contributions to early 20th century industry were vital, with textile and millinery workers spending untold hours toiling in factories without much recognition."
Many of the photographs were taken by Lewis Hine (1874-1940) of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Many of Hine's photographs are on display in the Library of Congress.
Chris Iezzoni, a clerk at the Summit Hill Post Office, said he's impressed by the sheet of stamps going on sale tomorrow. He said he had relatives on his mother's side who had worked in the mines.
On Friday morning, State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski will be at the Wilkes-Barre Post Office to commemorate the issuance of the first coal miner postage stamp.
Pashinski said it took a tremendous effort on the part of thousands of people to convince the U.S. Postal Service's Citizens Stamp Advisory Council to issue the stamp, and now that it will finally be released, the occasion should be celebrated.