The U.S. Post Office issues commemorative stamps every year which I collect because I’m a philatelist. Commemorative stamps, unlike the stamps of the American flag that we use most often, honor or commemorate a significant event or famous person. Usually larger and more colorful, these stamps are also printed in limited quantities and sold only for a certain length of time.
A “Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee” decides who or what should be honored. No one lives to see their likeness on a commemorative stamp. A person whose life accomplishments make them worthy of a stamp must have been deceased 10 years before being considered.
In 2010, some of the commemorative stamps that will be issued include the Winter Olympics in January, four distinguished sailors in February, Cowboys of the Silver Screen (William S. Hart, Tom Mix, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers) in April, “God Bless America” singer Kate Smith and Actress Katherine Hepburn in May, and Artist Winslow Homer in August.
A stamp honoring Nobel Peace Prize recipient Mother Teresa will be released on her birthday, August 26. She will be one of the few people not born in the U.S. to be honored on an American stamp. According to the postal service, the stamp commemorates her life’s work serving the sick and destitute of India and the world for nearly 50 years.
Several years ago, the post office issued a commemorative series honoring jazz musicians. I collected these stamps because one of the people honored was Ethel Waters. She was a talented singer and actress who appeared in Broadway plays and Hollywood movies.
Ethel Waters received acclaim for her beautiful voice. Perhaps she will best be remembered for singing at Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusades. If you ever attended or watched a crusade on television during the 1960’s and 70’s, you probably heard Ethel Waters sing “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.”
I think it’s gratifying that the committee considered Ethel Waters’ life worthy of honoring with a stamp. Her life story includes the tragic fact that she was conceived as a result of a sexual assault when her mother was a young teenager. Despite the circumstances of her birth, Ethel Waters rose to stardom and blessed millions with her voice. Nowadays, with abortion on demand during the entire nine months of pregnancy, she may not have been given the opportunity to live her 77 years and we would have missed the impact of her life.
Mother Teresa once said, “How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us…. Each child is created in the special image and likeness of God for greater things - to love and to be loved.”
Every life, both born and unborn, has the potential to impact many others. According to Genesis 1:27, God “created man in His own image.” The Creator God has stamped His image on each of us.