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How About Some Stamps Honoring Baby Boomers?
By John L. Leszak

Many generations of Americans have been commemorated on U.S. stamps, but there seems to be a rather distressing apparent vacancy for stamps commemorating Baby Boomers. While the Great Depression generation is quite evident as the subject matter of U.S. stamps, I cannot immediately call to mind a single Baby Boomer who is honored by a U.S. stamp. "Baby Boomer" are anyone born between 1946 and 1964. These years directly reflect the years of prosperity afforded to veterans of WWII.

When I pose the question of Baby Boomers on stamps to some of my philatelic friends, many fire back immediately that Arthur Ashe (Sc. 3936) is actually a Boomer. However, Arthur Ashe was born in 1943, making him a "War Baby," and not a Boomer.

A lot of philatelists to whom I've asked this question chastise me and say, "Yes, but there's a Woodstock stamp!" Others will cite other stamps from the the Celebrate the Century series that touch on events and products that were part of the memories of Baby Boomers. There's The Cat in the Hat, the Slinky, The Beatles and Sesame Street. However, I quickly reply to those who cite those examples that those stamps merely commemorate events, but not actual people! One of my more insistent customers kept insisting that the Smiley Face (Sc. 3189m) is a Baby Boomer subject, to which I respond that I recall the Smiley Face as being born circa 1971, thereby not making it eligible for Baby Boomer status.

One of my customers decided to call me out at my favorite coffee shop. He stomped over to where I was seated and tossed a small stack of Bill Clinton inauguration covers on the  table. With cunning defiance he uttered, "No Baby Boomers, eh? Bill Clinton was born in 1946, and that makes him a Boomer! Here he is on a bunch of inauguration covers." I politely moved the covers to one side and acknowledged that while Bill Clinton was indeed a Boomer, he was only depicted on the cachets of the inauguration covers and not on an actual stamp. My customer quickly scooped up the covers and tucked them back into his jacket.

Some of the more aggressive people to whom I've posed this Baby Boomer stamp dilemma have noted that the Celebrate the Century stamp honoring the Vietnam War (Sc. 3188g) depicts Boomers. Others cite Sc. 3937 To Form A More Perfect Union (Civil Rights souvenir sheet) as depicting probable Boomers. However, I maintain that both of these examples are artistic depictions, and do not commemorate specific individuals by name who hail from the Baby Boomer generation.

There are some people who also proclaim that stamps depicting the U.S. space shuttles (Sc. 1913-1914; 1917-1918; 2544-2544A; 3261-3262; 3190a; 3411a; C125 and C126d)  honor Baby Boomers because "surely there must be an astronaut of Baby Boomer age inside one of those depicted shuttles!" Let me digress from the topic of Baby Boomers for just a moment. The "Astronauts in the Space Shuttles" argument reminds me of the ongoing argument that no living person is to be depicted on a U.S stamp, yet people always cite Sc. 1331 as actually the "Ed White astronaut stamp." Similarly, some proclaim that Sc. C76 is the "Neil Armstrong stamp." People who apply those appellations to those particular stamps like to say "Who else could it be? See, those people are alive, and they're on a U.S. stamp." But all these stamps, are actually depictions of U.S. space achievements and do not honor any specific person by name.

Seriously, folks, can anyone find a person who is commemorated by name on a U.S. stamp who actually was born between 1946 and 1964? When I pose this question to my philatelic friends who were born before 1946, they like to quip, there's no one worthy of a stamp from the Baby Boomer generation; besides, they're all still alive.

Right off the top of my head I can think of many deceased Baby Boomers who are worthy of being commemorated on a U.S. stamp. The first who comes to mind is Tim Russert, my compatriot from South Buffalo, and the former host of NBC's "Meet The Press." When his time comes to be honored by a U.S. stamp (and I swear that it will), I hope to make my way to the front of the line to be one of the first to buy a copy.

Actor Christopher Reeve was born in 1952 and certainly would make a worthy stamp subject.

Actor/dancer Gregory Hines (born in 1946) would be a magnificent subject for a U.S. stamp; so would film critic Gene Siskel, who was also born in 1946.

How about comic actor John Ritter who was born in 1948 or John Belushi who was born in 1949?

I think that a stamp honoring comedienne Gilda Radner (born 1946) would be greatly appreciated.

Race car sensation Dale Earnhardt (born in 1951) certainly deserves to be depicted on a U.S. commemorative stamp.

Rock musician Stevie Ray Vaughn (born 1954) would also make a fine subject for a U.S. stamp.

Track star Florence Griffith "Flo-Jo" Joyner, "the fastest woman of all time," would be an ideal Baby Boomer candidate to grace a U.S. commemorative stamp. She was born in 1959.

It seems so natural that the USPS would depict some noteworthy Baby Boomers on future stamps. Many tie into the "pop culture" theme that the USPS so often embraces. As Baby Boomers become eligible for Social Security and retirement, it only seems fitting to honor this historical generation.

© John L. Leszak. All rights reserved. Published on The Virtual Stamp Club by permission.

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