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USPS dedicates Mighty Mississippi stamps

Frank Rivera, riverlorian of American Queen Voyages, speaks during the ceremony.

Mighty Mississippi, 10 stamps celebrating the beauty and majesty of the Mississippi River, were dedicated during a May 23 ceremony in Memphis, TN.

“Today, we continue the Postal Service’s tradition of celebrating our nation’s wonderful heritage with the dedication of 10 truly special Forever stamps honoring the Mighty Mississippi,” said Gary Barksdale, the Postal Service’s chief postal inspector, who spoke at the ceremony.

“In addition to its many recreational and natural attributes, the Mississippi is also the backbone of the U.S. economy — serving as a … superhighway, transporting more than 175 million tons of freight annually,” Barksdale said.

The pane features five rows of two stamps that correspond to the 10 states’ north-south and west-east sequence along the 2,300-mile river, before it flows into the Gulf of Mexico.

Ethel Kessler designed the stamps using existing photographs, including one that features the American Queen steamboat sailing on the Mississippi near Bettendorf, IA.

“Travelers have been captivated by the Mississippi River — romanticizing the steamboats transporting them from Minnesota to Louisiana — throughout history,” said John Waggoner, founder and chairman of American Queen Voyages, who served as master of ceremonies.

The dedication event also featured remarks by Alex Bernhardt, cruise director of American Queen Voyages; Jim Strickland, mayor of Memphis; Tyree Daniels, board chair of Memphis River Parks; and Frank Rivera, riverlorian of American Queen Voyages.

Quintin R. Smith, pastor of the Historical First Baptist Church of Millington, also attended the dedication.

The Forever stamps are available in at and Post Offices nationwide.