Carroll Sweet didn’t exactly get a hero’s welcome when he returned from Vietnam.Sweet, who received a purple heart in 1970 after being shot in the leg and hit in the head with grenade fragments, remembers being spit on by civilians and having projectiles dropped on him as he sailed with other veterans under the Golden Gate Bridge.
It may look like ordinary postage to some, but the US Postal Service’s new Purple Heart stamp — unveiled Thursday morning aboard the USS Midway Museum — represents much more to Sweet and others.It represents respect. It represents appreciation.
The stamp was unveiled in front of about 200 people, including about 40 recipients of the Purple Heart, which is bestowed on service members wounded or killed in action. The release is the Postal Service’s first Purple Heart “forever” stamp. The value of “forever” stamps equals the price of first-class postage at the time of use.
There will be 500 million stamps printed in this run, said Postal Service spokesman Don Smeraldi. When the Postal Service released its original Purple Heart stamps in 2003, there was an initial print run of 120 million.The latest Purple Heart stamp joins several other military-themed stamps over the past decade. Last month, the Postal Service released a stamp commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.