A special Forever stamp depicting the Army and Navy Medals of Honor, packaged with historic photographs of Medal of Honor recipients including the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, was unveiled in Washington D.C. Monday and is available at Post Offices across the country on Tuesday.
The First Day of Issuance ceremony was held at the National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. and was attended by living Medal of Honor recipients and family members of deceased recipients -- including Sen. Inouye’s widow Irene Hirano Inouye.
The Medal of Honor stamp will be sold as a sheet of 20 Forever stamps in a commemorative prestige folio for $9.20.
The cover of the folio highlights historic photographs of the last 12 living recipients of the Medal of Honor from World War II. The photographs surround two Forever stamps; one features a photograph of the Navy version of the Medal of Honor, and the other features a photograph of the Army version of the award.
In January 2012, the U.S. Postal Service invited the last living World War II Medal of Honor recipients to join in honoring the extraordinary courage of every member awarded the medal for their valorous actions during the war. All the men pictured on the folio cover agreed to participate in this momentous event.
The two center pages of the folio list the names of all 464 recipients of the Medal of Honor from World War II. A short piece of text and a key to the names of the recipients pictured in the cover photos are also included on page two. The remaining 18 stamps are found on the back page.
The Medal of Honor, our nation’s most prestigious military decoration, is awarded by the President of the United States to members who distinguished themselves "conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty" while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States. Only 464 of the 16 million members who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II were deemed to have met the standard necessary to warrant award of the Medal of Honor. Of the 464 recipients, more than six out of 10 were killed in action while performing the valorous actions that resulted in them receiving the award posthumously.
Inouye received his Medal of Honor on June 21, 2000, in recognition of his extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper's bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.