World War I Veterans
A commemorative postage stamp on the Veterans World War I :
Issued by United States of America
Issued on Aug 26, 1985
Design : The U.S. stamp honoring World War I Veterans was designed by Richard Sheaff of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Mr. Sheaff also designed this year’s Ameripex ’86 stamp.
Type : Stamp, Postal Used
Denomination : 22 cents
- When the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, Americans were totally unprepared for war. Congress had to enact a selective service act, which required all able-bodied men between the ages of 21 and 30 to register for the draft. Training procedures were hurriedly installed to prepare American Expeditionary Forces for combat.
- Still, Americans were supremely confident that their intervention would bring the war to a swift end. Thus the mood was almost lighthearted as the first American “doughboys” marched onto troop carriers to the tune of “Over There”. The first contingent of forces landed in France on June 26, 1917. Before the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, more than two million Americans had seen combat.
- Battlefield conditions were miserable, often involving hand-to-hand combat in muddy trenches. United States troops took part in 13 major engagements during their seventeen months overseas. Of these, the Saint Mihiel battle in September, 1918 was the first all-American offensive, with U.S. troops, tanks and planes. The American victory regained control of the critical Meuse Valley for the Allies. Saint Mihiel and the later battle of Meuse–Argonne breached the fortified Siegfried Line, opening the door to Germany.
- General John Pershing summed up America’s respect for its World War I veterans when he noted, “Their devotion, their valor and their sacrifice will forever live in the hearts of their grateful countrymen”. The cost of victory had been sobering, amounting to more than 320,000 American casualties.
- Most of the American Expeditionary Force returned home after the armistice, to be greeted by bands and tickertape parades. Though their ranks have been shrinking during the last 67 years, they remain a presence in our nation and in our communities. There are about 321,000 surviving American veterans of World War I.