WASHINGTON – A father whose son died last month while serving in Iraq became the first city resident to receive a framed postage stamp honoring the District of Columbia Tuesday at the stamp's first day of issue ceremony.
Army National Guard Spc. Darryl Dent died Aug. 26 in Southeast Arimadi,Iraq. Dent was serving with the 547th Transportation Company. He was the first member of the D.C. National Guard to die in Iraq.
Dent's father,Vernon Dent Sr. did not speak at the ceremony but wiped a tear from his eye when Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton,D-D.C.,gave him the stamp.
“The least we could do is say to the father who raised this fine young man,that we appreciate his gift to the city and appreciate the sacrifice that has been made,” Norton said.
The ceremony,held in the Great Hall of the City Museum,allowed visitors to see and buy the stamp,which features four Washington scenes. It was released for sale in Washington Tuesday and will be sold nationwide starting Wednesday.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams,D,said the stamp is important to Washington. He said there are a number of stamps featuring the capital's monuments and historic sites.
“This is the first time we're showing our city as a city,not a symbol,” he said.
Norton said that when the stamp’s design was unveiled in July the city loved it. She said the stamp “features monuments that are very important to us,but also symbols of this city.”
D.C. Postmaster Delores J. Killette said,“This stamp marks D.C. not only as the nation's capital but also as a great place to live and work.”
The stamp,designed by Greg Berger of Bethesda,Md.,is in the shape of a diamond,representing the District’s original shape.
Each corner of the stamp has a different picture representing Washington: part of a detailed city map,cherry blossoms,a view of the National Mall and row houses in the Shaw neighborhood.
Amanda Hatcher-Lyon,who described herself as a senior citizen,attended the event because of her interest in stamp collecting. She has been collecting stamps for more than 20 years and said her collection includes nearly 2,000 stamps.
“I realized I was spending nearly $4,000 a year on stamps,” she said.
A native Washingtonian,Lyon said she was impressed with the event and bought a book of the new stamps and promptly used them to mail a stack of letters.