April 13, 1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. ---- AMERICAN SAMOA PRESENTS STAMP
PETITIONS WITH 15,000 SIGNATURES TO
Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that on Wednesday, April 14th, petitions containing more than 15,000 signatures will be presented to representatives of the U.S. Postal Service requesting that a stamp be issued to commemorate the centennial of American Samoa's union with the United States. Mr. Allen Stayman, Director of the Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs, along with representatives of the American Samoa Governor's Washington DC office and representatives from the Congressman's Washington office will present the petitions.
Recent items which the Postal Service has deemed worthy of recognition on commemorative stamps include automobile tail fins (1996), comic strips (1995), carousel horses (1995), humming birds (1992), and Australia's bicentennial (1988). The Congressman pointed out the serious nature of commemorating the political union of American Samoa with the United States.
"American Samoa's commitment to the United States has been strong throughout the century," said the Congressman. "For decades American Samoa served as a Naval coaling station for U.S. ships in the Pacific and during World War II American Samoa was the staging point for 30,000 U.S. Marines involved in the Pacific theater. Our tradition of military service is strong, and our current per capita rate of enlistment in the U.S. military services is as high as any state or territory; our young men and women continue to serve proudly in America's front lines in every armed conflict in which they are called to serve -- from the Pacific to Southeast Asia to the Middle East and, now, the Balkans."
"In spite of the many proud years of our union with the United States, American Samoa remains the only U.S. insular area for which the Postal Service has not issued a commemorative stamp," said Faleomavaega. "That's a truly astonishing oversight. One hundred years with no stamp is far too long. It's past time for American Samoa to receive this recognition, and I intend to continue to pursue this goal until it is achieved," he concluded.