Postage Due Forever Stamps
By C. David Thomas
Wellesley, Massachusetts: C. David Thomas, 2009. Edition of 25.
6.75 x 7.25 x 2.5"; 14 tri-fold booklets. Printed on Innova short grain, 200 gram, natural white soft texture duo paper. Printed from a Hewlet Packard Photosmart Pro B9180 using archival ink. Presented in a black linen clamshell box handmade by craftsmakers in Hanoi, Viet Nam. Ribbon and velcro closure. Illustrated title label on box cover. Postage mage thumbnails on interior of box.
C. David Thomas, Introduction: "This book contains twelve sets of stamps with images that cannot be found on U.S. Postal Service stamps. These include, among other, images of Vietnam's leader Ho Chi Minh working with U.S. soldiers during WWII, images of American prisoners of war drawn by a former North Vietnamese soldier/artist, images of Agent Orange victims, images of the My Lai massacre in South Vietnam, images of a badly burned young girl fleeing from her village which had just been napalmed, and images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, after the US nuclear bombing of those densely populated cities.
"I never really thought much about the importance of how we chose what images to place on our stamps until one day in 1995, when I went to post office and asked for an interesting stamp. The woman behind the counter handed me a sheet of the recently issued Richard Nixon stamp. This stamp was issued only twenty years after he was forced to resign in disgrace as the 37th President of the United States. Needless to say, I handed them back to her with some choice words.
"The next time I was to think about stamps was in 1996, when I went to the philately society in Hanoi, Viet Nam, while doing research for a book on President Ho Chi Minh. Of course I found dozens of stamps with the image of Ho Chi Minh as well as many other world leaders including Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Karl Marx, Mao Tse Dung, and Mahatma Gandhi. Other stamps I found depicted Vietnamese war and sports heroes, butterflies, frogs, flowers, and even a 1966 stamp depicting the shooting down of the 1,500th US aircraft brought down over North Viet Nam and one with the image of Norman Morrison, the man who immolated himself outside Robert McNamara's office at the Pentagon.
"Just a few days before the US Post Office issued Robert Indiana's LOVE stamp in 1973, the US heavily bombed the densely populated city Hanoi killing hundreds of innocent Vietnamese civilians.
"For many summers during the 1950s and 60s my sister Karen and I, in order to escape the summer heat, would spend hours upon hours swimming and playing at Raymond Pond, ME. On a similarly hot summer day in June of 1968, Kim Phuc was playing with her two brothers in a tiny hamlet just north of Saigon when a US fighter jet dropped napalm on them, killing her two brothers instantly and burning the skin off her back.
"I have begun to understand the real power of this little jewel which may be the smallest form of propaganda available to all governments.These miniature posters travel all over the world spreading their message of the country of issue. Not only is it important what we decide to include on our stamps but possibly more important is what we chose not to put on our stamps.
"The images in this book were selected because they depict important events in American history which seldom appear in our historical documents. They are intended to force you to think and ask questions about our history as well as our future. If we refuse or ignore to face these facts, how can we ever have a clear understanding of our history? And won't we simply continue to repeat our mistakes? My Lai will be come Abu Ghraib and on and on."