Post Office Will be Site of Jamestown, North Dakota Sept. 11 Tribute

The Jamestown Post Office will be the site of a day-long tribute to the heroes of Sept. 11 in New York City, and to the firefighters, police officers and emergency medical personnel of Jamestown.

A police car, an ambulance and a fire department vehicle will be parked in the post office parking lot with a member of each profession in attendance, said Larry Phillips, coordinator of the event.

Also available at the post office will be a special cancellation of the 45-cent Heroes stamp. The cancellation reads: "Honoring our fallen heroes, Station, September 11, 2002, Jamestown, ND 58401-9998." The cancellation also contains a replica of the shoulder patch worn by Jamestown Fire Department personnel.

The first stamp will be canceled at 7:46 a.m. to commemorate the first plane hitting the first tower at the World Trade Center, Phillips said.

Phillips, a collector of things related to fire departments, particularly the Fire Department of New York, knows several FDNY firemen. He also knew a couple of the firefighters who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center's twin towers.

As he thought about the upcoming anniversary of the tragedy, he asked what he could to memorialize the friends he lost on that day.

Eventually the sight of a stamp collecting booklet issued by the U.S. Postal Service set in motion having a special Jamestown cancellation of the Heroes stamp. He approached Postmaster Paul Collins with the proposal.

"Paul looked at me and said 'I think that's a wonderful idea," Phillips said. "I'll have to go through my superiors in Sioux Falls (S.D.). What do you want to use for a pictorial design?"

Phillips' said he's like to use is the Jamestown Fire Department shoulder patch, which has the buffalo on it.

"It would really localize what we are trying to do," he said.

Fire Chief Bert Gray furnished a patch for the cancellation design. In less than two weeks the project was approved and the cancellation was created.

"I shipped it (patch) to Sioux Falls and Jana Miles drew it out, I think, by hand, and had to reverse it (colors)," Collins said. "These cancellations are usually for special events, like White Cloud Days, festivals, or other special events.

"I've seen it when a state stamp comes out, most of the state capitals did a special cancellation. When we get the Louis L'Amour stamp, I'm sure we'll have a special cancellation."

In addition to the special cancellation and the emergency vehicles and personnel, Phillips has a mounted collection of buttons and patches worn at ground zero during the cleanup following the terrorist attack. This collection will also be on display at the post office.

"Volunteer postal employees will be canceling stamps outside," Collins said. "If it's raining or cold outside, we'll move the table inside."

Although Phillips set up the idea of using the Heroes stamp for the special cancellation, Collins said any regular postage stamp can be used for the cancellation.

The Heroes stamp is a semipostal issue, as was the breast cancer stamp. The difference between the price of a regular stamp and the semipostal issue is donated to a special cause. In the case of the Heroes stamp, the difference between the cost of the special stamp and a first-class stamp is sent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide assistance to the families of emergency relief personnel who died or were permanently disabled in the line of duty in connection with the terrorist attacks.

"Does this take some of the hollow feeling out of my gut?" Phillips said. "Yes, it does. All of it? No.

"The reason for that is the slogan of the FDNY always has been, and always will be, "When others run out, we run in.' Since 9/11 there is a new tag on the end, 'regardless of the price.'"