Honorable Discharge: The Stamp Tells the Story

This vintage postal cover displays the stamp created by the United States Post Office in 1946 to honor all World War II veterans who earned Honorable Discharge recognition. To receive an honorable discharge, service members must have received a rating from good to excellent for his/her service, must have met or exceeded required standards of personal conduct, and must have either completed their tours of duty or mustered out as a result of hostilities ending.

America’s Honorable Discharge stamp lauded members of the armed forces who were returning to civilian life after serving their country in World War II.  This stamp – printed in purple – prominently featured the Honorable Discharge emblem: an American eagle within a ring appearing to take flight. The bottom half of the ring encompasses 13 vertical bars symbolizing the 13 original American states.  Five stars appear at the outside of this stamp, representing those veterans who died in our country’s five different services – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines & Coast guard.

Created by an artist named V. S. McCloskey, Jr., this design closely reflected the honorable discharge patches and buttons presented by the military as World War II veterans mustered out.  The stamp was offered for sale for the fist time on May 9, 1946: one year and one day after hostilities inEuropecame to a close.

With a denomination of three cents, this small purple stamp was used for first class postage.

The AAWV salutes the wisdom of Presidents Roosevelt and Truman for commissioning and issuing this special postal tribute to World War II veterans.  At the same time, we gratefully tip our hats to all who have served in the American military throughout the history of this country.