After spending nine months to erect a monument for the three individuals from El Paso County, Colo., who received the Medal Of Honor, I was thinking I had a breather from doing extra projects. I work at one of the post office stations in Colorado Springs. While at work I checked my work email and saw a page with the upcoming postal stamp releases. On the 4th of July the “O Beautiful” stamps from Memorial Park in Colorado Springs. The Scoop-Doo came out July 14 at Bloomington, Minn. While both stamps are cool, it was the third one on the page that jumped out at me. “Turning The Tide,” the centennial stamp for World War I on July 29 at Kansas City.
If people remember, it was the veterans of World War I who came together to form The American Legion in Paris on March 15-17, 1919. So no WWI, no American Legion. The stamp made a person think of the posters from those war years. There is a doughboy artillery officer holding the U.S. flag with a biplane, barb wire and smoke in the background of the stamp. This is like a little bit of artwork on a forever stamp.
Using a connection inside the post office I have in the publicity office in Colorado - that covered the Medal of Honor Monument because I used a display of the Medal of Honor stamps matched with recipients with ties to Colorado - I asked about doing a Colorado stamp unveiling at Post 5 in Colorado Springs of "Turning the Tide," because Post 5 is the oldest post in the city. This was about June 29; I was told to wait until after the 4th of July because of the unveiling of the "O Beautiful" stamps. Because of vacation times of different people, the event was not given a go until July 13 and they decided it needed to be on July 30, which gave me 17 days to pull everything together.
I believe that a picture is good over just talking, but also putting items so people can see just what soldiers of World War I had to work with would drive home the problems the military personnel had to adapt to and overcome with their own equipment to be able to go and fight the war. Instead of bringing out the artifacts from the Post 5 display cases, I brought my own items to drive home. A shadow box containing a SSG quartermaster uniform, dog tags on a silk string and a quartermaster guidon flag. The other item was a backpack from WWI. It was one that a person would have to unroll EVERY TIME you wanted something. We came with photos of our first few commanders from 1919-1925, most in uniforms. A couple of photos of the ones who died while in service, either by enemy fire or by illness.
At 1 PM on the 30th I gave remarks about the history of what led to the war and the items on display. I introduced the detachment commander, the senior vice of the department, and the District 7 commander. I introduced the first female postmaster, of Colorado Springs, JoLea Quintana who gave some remarks. Together the postmaster and I unveiled "Turning The Tide," which showed our first commander, John Carruthers, because he was in the artillery during World War 1.
In closing, I will say keep your eyes open for anything you can tie to our own Legion centennial. The postmaster was given a membership application to the Auxiliary. We had TalkingWithHeroes.com filming the event and the Gazette newspaper covering it.