The US Postal Service has released a new nondenominated, nonprofit stamp called the Patriotic Block. This stamp is intended for use by authorized nonprofit organizations and was issued without a ceremony in Liberty, NY.
The Patriotic Block stamp features the stars and stripes, the components found on the American flag, arranged in a four-quadrant block on a white background. Two identical quadrants at the top left and bottom right contain a white star on a blue field. The other two quadrants each hold three red stripes, which run vertically in the top right quadrant and horizontally in the bottom left.
Historically, flags flown during the American colonial period often featured the British Union Jack. However, as resistance to British control grew, flags occasionally displayed symbols that announced a distinctively American identity, such as pine trees or snakes. Stars were scarce, and during the War for Independence, the Continental Army sometimes carried a banner that featured horizontal red and white stripes, with a small version of the Union Jack in the upper left corner but no stars.
On June 14, 1777, almost a year after it adopted the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress chose a design for the new country’s first flag. It resolved that “the Flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” The new flag thus recognized both the 13 separate states and their union.
Carol Beehler designed the Patriotic Block stamp, with art direction by Antonio Alcalá. The stamp is sold in self-adhesive coils of 3,000 and 10,000 at nonprofit prices.