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Flags for all seasons debut as US postal stamps

Students in the Weston Country School Chorus attended the “Flag for All Seasons” Forever Stamp ceremony.

.John Swinconeck for the Boston Globe

Students in the Weston Country School Chorus attended the “Flag for All Seasons” Forever Stamp ceremony.

WESTON — A stamp might be a small rectangle affixed to an envelope, but for postal enthusiasts like those at Regis College Friday, a stamp can deliver a message of resiliency, patriotism, and comfort.

The US Postal Service debuted a new collection of Forever Stamps at the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History. Known as a First Day of Issue ceremony, the event introduced the newly produced stamps to the public.

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Titled “A Flag for All Seasons,” each of the four stamp designs depicts a flag against trees that evoke one of the four seasons.

“We are honored with the flag in life, and in our darkest hours, we are comforted by it,” Boston Postmaster James Holland said in a statement. “Nowhere do we know this better than right here. As our nation was rocked by the senseless acts put upon Boston on Patriots Day, and again in the criminal trespass upon the campus of MIT that claimed the life of Officer Sean Collier, we turned to our flag to speak for us.”

That sentiment was echoed by postal spokeswoman Denise Varano: “Boston helped welcome these stamps for the country.”

A few dozen people attended the ceremony and were among the first in the nation to purchase the stamps and have them postmarked.

Before the unveiling, Spellman Curator George Norton invoked the words of the museum’s namesake, Francis Cardinal Spellman: “Stamps are miniature documents of human history. They are the means by which a country gives sensible expression to its hopes and needs; its beliefs and ideals. They mirror the past and presage the future. They delineate cultural attainments, industrial works, domestic, civil, and social life. In a word, these vignettes give a vivid picture of the world, its occupants, and their multifarious endeavors.”

As part of the ceremony, a flag that had been flown over the US Capitol was displayed outside the museum as patriotic songs were performed by the Weston Country School Chorus.

Later, museum staff, volunteers, and stamp enthusiasts crowded inside the museum to purchase the stamps and have them canceled with a special “First Day of Issue” Weston postmark.

For museum trustee Ann Grady, there were two reasons to celebrate. “It’s wonderful to have this event here, because it was 50 years ago that this museum opened,” she said. “Stamps connect people,” she said. “They have a wonderful history. They tell stories, and the museum is a wonderful place for people to come and learn.”

The stamp’s designs are based on paintings by Laura Stutzman, who used her personal photographs of flags as reference. In 2008, the Postal Service issued four of her designs as Flags 24/7. The art director was Phil Jordan.

“A Flag for All Seasons” stamps are now on sale for 46 cents each nationwide. They are Forever Stamps, meaning that they can be used to mail a one-ounce letter regardless of postal rate increases. Books of 20 will be available May 17.

John Swinconeck can be reached at johnswinc@gmail.com.
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