Silent Ambassadors

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In one of his only official duties as king before abdicating, Edward VIII unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial on this date in 1936.  The Battle of Vimy Ridge, part of the larger British offensive in and around Arras in the spring of 1917, was one of the most important victories for the many Canadian troops sent over there for God & Empire—not only because taking the ridge helped the British tactically, but also because all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force fought together for the first time during this battle—a pivotal moment in Canadian national history.  The Memorial was designed by Walter Seymour Allward and covers 250 acres of the battleground, commemorating not only the dead at Vimy, but the presumed dead and missing from the entirety of the Great War (there are a total of 11,285 names on the memorial, although since its construction, 116 of the men commemorated have been found and proper headstones erected for them).  Here is the inscription:

To the valour of their countrymen in the Great War and in memory of their sixty thousand dead this monument is raised by the people of Canada.

À la vaillance de ses fils pendant la Grande Guerre et en mémoire de ses soixante mille morts, le peuple canadien a élevé ce monument.

[It should be noted that Canada did not have time to issue a stamp of King Edward VIII while he was king—the stamp is of him as the Prince of Wales.]

Stamp details:
Top left:
Issued on: October 15, 1968
From: Ottawa, Canada
SC #486

Top right:
Issued on: July 12, 1932
From: Ottawa, CanadaSC #193

Stamps on bottom:
Issued on: July 26, 1936
From: Paris, France
MC #322-323

(Source: stamps-plus.com)

On this date in 1609, Sea Venture, flagship of the London Company and bound for Jamestown, reefed on Bermuda during a wicked storm [so wicked, a certain Bard of Stratford was inspired to write a play about it—or so the story goes].  Others had landed in Bermuda before, but the men and women aboard Sea Venture were the first to spend any protracted amount of time there—enough time, in fact, to build two ships from both the salvage of Sea Venture and any available building materials found on the island, and set sail just a short nine months later in them, arriving in Jamestown to the wonder of all [well, and relief, too, considering the colonists at Jamestown were starving and would undoubtedly have died if Deliverance and Patience hadn’t shown up with considerable amounts of supplies from their island respite].  Four of the original passengers aboard Sea Venture were left on Bermuda to establish it as a British colony—and Bermuda remains a Commonwealth Nation to this day.

Stamp details:
Stamp on top:
Issued on: March 27, 1912
From: Hamilton, Bermuda
SC #44

Middle stamps:
Issued on: May 3, 1984
From: Hamilton, Bermuda
SC #438, 440

Stamps on bottom:
Issued on: June 21, 2007
From: Hamilton, Bermuda
SC #944-945

(Source: bermuda-online.org)

On this date in 1911, American explorer Hiram Bingham [III], with the help of indigenous guides, climbed up into the Andes and became the first (or possibly the third….) non-Peruvian to visit the 15th Century Inca site of Machu Picchu.  Bingham was born to Hawai’ian missionaries and probably helped shape the Indiana Jones persona later in the century—although when Indy says, “That belongs in a museum!” it could also be argued, as the Peruvians have done about the thousands and thousands of objects Bingham liberated into the hands of the Peabody, that it belongs to its cultural descendants……[Interestingly, and pretty much entirely unrelatedly, Bingham’s son, Hiram Bingham IV (pictured above), was Vice Consul in Marseilles during WWII and helped roughly 2,500 Jews flee France as the Nazis advanced—sort of like a United States of American Raoul Wallenberg!]

Stamp details:
Top left:
Issued on: July 5, 2011
From: Lima, Peru
WAD #029.11

Top right:
Issued in: 1951
From: Lima, Peru
SC #455

Middle stamp:
Issued on: July 7, 2008
From: Lima, Peru
WAD #030.08

Stamp on bottom:
Issued on: May 30, 2006
From: Washington, DC
SC #4076c

(Source: arago.si.edu)

On July 23, 1904, during the St. Louis Expo, United States of Americans at large were introduced to the pastry shell full of ice cream—and gosh if we haven’t looked back since.

Stamp details:
Stamp on top:
Issued on: February 3, 1998
From: Washington, DC
SC #3182e

Second row:
Issued on: May 12, 2011
From: Stockholm, Sweden
WAD #0037.11, 0039.11

Third row left:
Issued on: April 27, 1994
From: Wellington, New Zealand
SG #1799

Third row right:
Issued on: March 23, 2011
From: Wellington, New Zealand
MC #2783

Bottom left:
Issued on: May 15, 2007
From: London, England
SG #2734

Bottom right:
Issued on: March 11, 2006
From: Rome, Italy
SC #2729

(Source: arago.si.edu)

Today is Ratcatcher’s Day!  [Although some towns, notably Hamelin, celebrate on June 26—the Brothers Grimm would have it as June 26, but Robert Browning used July 22 when recounting the Pied Piper legend.]  It also happens to be this stamp enthusiast’s birthday.  This year, I’d like a pipe and a stout rattrap (or at least inoculation against the plague).  [Or possibly a visit to Minas Tirith’s ratcatcher’s hut.  Pretty please?]

Stamp details:
Top left:
Issued on: December 15, 1959
From: Budapest, Hungary
SC #1280

Top right:
Issued on: January 23, 1998
From: Vienna, Austria
SC #1746

Stamp on bottom:
Issued on: May 22, 1978
From: Bonn, West Germany
SC #1273

(Source: stampcommunity.org)

The space shuttle Atlantis returned to Earth for the last time on this date in 2011, ending the space shuttle program and dashing the hopes and dreams of millions of small children [and big children, too].  This stamp enthusiast was privileged to have seen multiple shuttle launches as a youth, what with a paternal grandmother living in Cocoa Beach (and a paternal grandfather who once upon a time worked for NASA).  Alas that those days are gone.  [And speaking of the space program, laurel wreaths for the Apollo 11 crew today; 45 years ago, you captured the moon—and our hearts.  As far as this stamp enthusiast is concerned, both are still yours.]

Stamp details:
Stamps on top:
Issued on: July 21, 2011
From: Majuro, Marshall Islands
SC #1001

Stamp on bottom:
Issued on: January 12, 2000
From: Titusville, FL
SC #3190a

(Source: arago.si.edu)

Natalia Nikolaevna Zacharenko was born on this date in 1938, and a mere eight years later was acting in Miracle on 34th Street.  It’s still a little disorienting to see little Susan Walker as a sex symbol, but in her later career she starred opposite such leading men as  James Dean, Warren Beatty, and, of course, Richard Beymer in West Side Story.  Natalie Wood died at the age of 43 in what are now being termed “undetermined” circumstances (but including drowning while on a boat trip to Santa Catalina Island with her two-time husband Robert Wagner, and the co-star of her last film, Christopher Walken).
Stamp details:Bottom left:Issued on: December 20, 2001From: Havana, CubaSC #4193
Bottom right:Issued on: February 12, 1999From: San Marino, San MarinoMC #1827

Natalia Nikolaevna Zacharenko was born on this date in 1938, and a mere eight years later was acting in Miracle on 34th Street.  It’s still a little disorienting to see little Susan Walker as a sex symbol, but in her later career she starred opposite such leading men as James Dean, Warren Beatty, and, of course, Richard Beymer in West Side Story.  Natalie Wood died at the age of 43 in what are now being termed “undetermined” circumstances (but including drowning while on a boat trip to Santa Catalina Island with her two-time husband Robert Wagner, and the co-star of her last film, Christopher Walken).

Stamp details:
Bottom left:
Issued on: December 20, 2001
From: Havana, Cuba
SC #4193

Bottom right:
Issued on: February 12, 1999
From: San Marino, San Marino
MC #1827

(Source: colnect.com)

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and nor did it burn in one day—the Great Fire started in the early hours of this date in 64 B.C.E. and it was a good six days before the blaze was brought under control (contrary to popular myth, Nero did not spend those days fiddling).  Two thousand years later, on this date in 1943, Rome was heavily bombed by Allied planes during WWII.  Rough day.  Roma vita!!

Stamp details:
Top left:
Issued on: April 21, 1929
From: Rome, Italy
MC #312

Top right:
Issued on: April 21, 2007
From: Rome, Italy
SC #2808

Second row:
Issued on: October 25, 1985
From: San Marino, San Marino
MC #1329

Third row:
Issued on: November 10, 1973
From: Rome, Italy
SC #1128

Stamp on bottom:
Issued on: April 21, 2011
From: Rome, Italy
MC #3440

(Source: colnect.com)

Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci became the first female gymnast to receive a perfect 10 in an Olympic event on this date in 1976 at the Montreal Olympics.  Felicitări, Nadia!

Stamp details:
Top left:
Issued on: July 13, 2001
From: Bucharest, Romania
MC #5581

Top right:
Issued on: April 9, 1996
From: Baku, Azerbaijan
MC #294

Middle stamp and stamp on bottom:
Issued on: October 20, 1976
From: Bucharest, Romania
MC #BL138, 3378

(Source: colnect.com)

Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family (his entire family, mind you—including his youngest girl-child, Ingrid Bergman/Meg Ryan notwithstanding) were executed on this date in 1918, evidently under orders from Lenin himself (the White Army was approaching Yekaterinburg, where Nicholas and his family were under house arrest, and the Bolsheviks weren’t going to allow the Romanovs to be rescued).  The execution itself was pretty gruesome (lining up, shooting, bayonets, etc.), and despite rumors to the contrary, there were no survivors.  On July 17, 1998, eighty years after their deaths, the Russian government held a state funeral for the reviled, murdered, but now rehabilitated (and canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church) Romanov family.
Stamp details:Issued on: June 30, 1998From: Moscow, RussiaMC #667

Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family (his entire family, mind you—including his youngest girl-child, Ingrid Bergman/Meg Ryan notwithstanding) were executed on this date in 1918, evidently under orders from Lenin himself (the White Army was approaching Yekaterinburg, where Nicholas and his family were under house arrest, and the Bolsheviks weren’t going to allow the Romanovs to be rescued).  The execution itself was pretty gruesome (lining up, shooting, bayonets, etc.), and despite rumors to the contrary, there were no survivors.  On July 17, 1998, eighty years after their deaths, the Russian government held a state funeral for the reviled, murdered, but now rehabilitated (and canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church) Romanov family.

Stamp details:
Issued on: June 30, 1998
From: Moscow, Russia
MC #667

(Source: commons.wikimedia.org)