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On May 29, 1995, the U.S. Postal Service held first day of issue ceremonies in Washington, D.C. for a new 32-cent stamp commemorating American POWs and MIAs from all wars since 1777. Several groups had lobbied hard for this stamp and proposed other sites for its release. One such groups was the "Friends of Andersonville," a volunteer organization that supports the Andersonville National Historic Site and Cemetery, as well serving as a vocal advocate in successfully lobbying Congress for locating a new National POW Museum at the National Park Service site.
The Friends of Andersonville thought they had a compelling case for bringing the first day of issue ceremonies for the POW-MIA stamp to the future home of the new National POW Museum (which was later dedicated on April 9, 1998). President Clinton, however, wanted to be involved in the stamp's 1995 Memorial Day release, so the Postal Service decided to hold official first day ceremonies at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. At [Click here to see official first day cancel.]
As a concession to the various groups and sites that lobbied for official first day of issue ceremonies, the Postal Service decided to have a memorial Day national release of the stamp, leaving veterans organizations and others free to plan their own ceremonies. The only problem was that Memorial Day is a national holiday for federal employees, which meant few post offices would be open to sell the stamp.
At this point, Andersonville postmaster James Atkins obtained permission to keep his post office open on Memorial Day. To mark the POW-MIA stamp's release, Atkins also secured expedited approval for a special pictorial cancel that showed a drawing of the National POW Museum. [Click here to view two different souvenir first day covers with the special cancel.]
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