Say It With Flowers
It was the first time the Postal Service held a First Day Ceremony at the famed Chicago landmark. (A Dedication Ceremony had been held a year ago for the Dr. Seuss Stamp at the Chicago Children's Museum at the west end of the pier.) Given the logistical challenges the USPS faced — the Flower & Garden Show is being held in Festival Hall, at the east end of Navy Pier, a walk of nearly three-quarters of a mile from the entrance of the facility — the event went off fairly well.
The USPS was wise to keep the ceremony short and simple. The ceremony, which started about six minutes late, only ran about 16 minutes, with only four speakers (not counting the National Anthem, which was sung by four members of the Chicago Performance Cluster Choir, all postal workers, who sang it quite well a cappella).
The main speeches were by National Garden Club President June Wood of Albuquerque, N.M., and Anne-Marie St. Germaine, the Vice President of External Affairs for the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Wood spoke on behalf of the 250,000 members of her society, thanking the Postal Service for the stamps as recognition of the work the members do in the beautification of our nation.
"They (the USPS) are honoring our national gardeners with these stamps," Wood said. Wood noted that gardeners were conservationists and preservationists long before those terms became common in our society. She urged her fellow garden club members (who made up most of the 100 persons seated in the small ceremony area of the huge hall), "Keep up doing the wonderful work that you are doing for your communities."
St. Germaine told the audience that the new issue would help people appreciate flowers just a bit more than they did before when she stated, "With these stamps we mark a true love of flowers." She may have also stated the obvious when she commented, "At this show we are truly surrounded by nature's wondrous gifts."
The ceremony was held in the middle of the hall, surrounded on three sides by huge exhibits and displays of flowers and gardens. (The area behind the ceremony area was the part of the hall set up for dealer booths, including the USPS station.)
Mind you, it wasn't just your run-of-the-mill flowers on display. The Postal Service's Dedicating Official, Jo Ann Feindt, Vice President of the Great Lakes Area for the USPS, noted the presence of 70 palm trees in the hall. "As a native Floridian, it makes me feel right at home," Feindt said.