The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is honoring the battleship USS Missouri with a forever postage stamp, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of her commissioning.
Celebrations this week honored the 75th anniversary: one at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and the other at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, where Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft presented a proclamation.
“The USS Missouri I think exemplifies everything when we think about our young men and women that fight to protect the liberty and freedom not only of our country and other countries, the Battleship Missouri, the Mighty Mo, that exemplifies it,” Ashcroft tells Missourinet.
The Missouri was the scene of the formal Japanese surrender in World War II in September 1945, with General Douglas MacArthur on the battleship.
A group of veterans and mid-Missouri community leaders organized Tuesday’s ceremony at the Statehouse, to raise awareness about the new stamp. Secretary Ashcroft spoke at the event, and praises the United States Navy.
“In all the wars that this great country has fought for freedom and liberation of other individuals, they’ve done it with the support and on the backs of the Navy,” Ashcroft tells the audience. “Because when you want to move materials to far parts of the world, it’s the Navy that does it.”
You’re now able to purchase the stamps at the post office. Retired Navy Captain David Durbin also spoke at the Jefferson City ceremony, where he noted that USPS was also holding a ceremony near Honolulu.
“Where about the same time, there’s a ceremony going on in Pearl Harbor Hawaii, where the official first day of the stamp is being conducted,” Captain Durbin says.
Secretary Ashcroft read a proclamation from Missouri Governor Mike Parson during the Capitol ceremony, as some veterans wiped tears away while listening.
One of the veterans who attended the Jefferson City ceremony was Charlie Guthrie, who lives in west-central Missouri’s Saline County. Guthrie, who served on the battleship Missouri, attended the ceremony with former State Rep. Joe Aull, D-Marshall.
Cole County Presiding Commissioner Sam Bushman says a major event is planned for September 2020 at Pearl Harbor, for the surrender’s 75th anniversary.
He says airfare and hotel costs will be covered for any veterans who were present on the Missouri, during the surrender. He’s asking anyone who knows of living veterans who were on the ship for the surrender to contact him at the Cole County Courthouse. His phone number is (573) 634-9113.
The Missouri was the last U.S. battleship to be commissioned. It was the scene of the formal 1945 Japanese surrender and later served in 1991’s Operation Desert Storm, launching Tomahawk cruise missiles at Iraqi targets in occupied Kuwait.