Orinda Receives Its Own Stamp
By BILL O’BRIAN
On July 4 while Orindans paraded in honor of America’s birthday, the United States Postal Service released a sheet of 20 stamps celebrating the country’s vast natural beauty and grandeur, one of which includes a bright sunrise near Orinda. The “O Beautiful Forever” stamps feature majestic landscape photographs of the United States to visually represent one of the nation’s favorite and most popular songs, America the Beautiful.
The stamps were dedicated in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at 7:30 p.m. MDT in Memorial Park as part of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic’s July 4th Event –Summer Symphony.
“As we celebrate American’s 242nd birthday, the United States Postal Service shines a spotlight on our country’s unparalleled natural beauty with a pane of 20 stamps that corresponds with one of the nation’s most beloved songs,” said U.S. Postal Service Colorado Wyoming District Manager Kevin Romero. Each stamp features a photograph that helps illustrate one of five phrases from the song’s famous first verse: “Spacious Skies,” “Waves of Grain,” “Mountain Majesties,” “The Fruited Plain,” and “Sea to Shining Sea.” Each of the five phrases appears to the left of the row of stamps to which it applies.
According to the United States Postal Service, the stamps include a national seashore, national parks, state parks, parks managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. The stamps highlight some of the nation’s hidden gems, such as wheat fields in Wisconsin and Montana and the lush, fertile landscape surrounding Orinda, CA. The stamps also celebrate the country’s ephemeral wonders, including a double rainbow arching over a Kansas field, the aurora borealis lighting up Three Fingers Mountain in Washington, and a quietly stunning spring sunset over the green hills of Livermore, CA.
The Orinda stamp picture was taken by Pleasant Hill photographer Gary Crabbe, who took seven of the 20 stamp pictures. He has been a landscape photographer for many years and has a backyard studio with nearly 50,000 pictures. In an interview with Wayne Freedman of KGO on a Channel 7 news report, Crabbe says, “That’s the world of a natural landscape photographer doing work that speaks a universal language. Something that resonates with a part of us deep inside that likes to think of big, wild, dramatic, but at the same time, inviting.”
According to the USPS statement, the song “America the Beautiful” was written by poet Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929) and set to the music of “Materna,” a melody composed by Samuel Augustus Ward (1848-1903). Considered by many to be the country’s unofficial national anthem, the song consists of four verses, each punctuated by the cry “America! America!”
To see the entire page of colorful commemorative stamps, go to: http://about.usps.com/news/, and at the top of the page, under National news, click on “O Beautiful stamps show America’s majesty.”