Local couple earns bragging rights
Imagine being contacted by the photo search service which helps the United States Postal Service find images for stamp projects.
That’s exactly what happened to Don and Mary McLaughlin, of Lower Macungie Township.
Don’s photo of the Julien Dubuque Bridge in Dubuque, Iowa was chosen by the United States Postal Service to be the capstone of the decorative border around the new commemorative stamp set.
Don said he was first contacted in early 2020 regarding the use of his image.
“They found my photo on Flickr, the surviving portion of Yahoo’s photo sharing site. One advantage my photo had was my use of location data and keywords, an early version of hashtags. It made it easier for searchers to pinpoint where my photo was taken,” Don said.
The photo used was taken in 2008 and has rested on Flickr since then.
Don said this was not a contest and there was no application or submission process.
According to USPS, “The Mississippi River is at the core of the nation’s heritage, and is variously referred to as America’s backbone, its heart and its soul. From Lake Itasca’s trickling overspill in Minnesota, the Mississippi flows and grows for 2,300 miles.
“It streams through varied topography in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area, past Iowa’s millennium-old effigy mounds, and by the remains of Cahokia, the nation’s largest pre-Columbian city, in Illinois. The Gateway Arch in Missouri rises near where Meriwether Lewis and William Clark embarked to venture westward in 1803.
“The Ohio River, flowing in along Kentucky’s northern border, doubles the Mississippi’s volume. The Lower Mississippi is a riparian superhighway. Massive engineering works - channels, locks, dams and levees - help accommodate barge tows more than 1,000 feet long, common along the Arkansas-Tennessee boundary and beyond.
“Abundant bayous in Mississippi and Louisiana split the river into a bird-foot-shaped delta. The New Orleans area hosts the river’s largest port.
“At the point where the Mississippi reaches the Gulf of Mexico, the trickle that started in Lake Itasca has intermingled with waters from 31 states.”
USPS said they are honoring the “Mighty Mississippi, America’s quintessential waterway, with 10 different Forever stamps following the river’s course north to south.”
“The three background/border images are arranged from north to south,” Don said. “The 10 stamps are arranged in geographical order from north to south. The images on the left column are from the west side of the river; right column stamps are from the east side.”
Don and Mary were invited to attend the dedication ceremony as honored guests at a ceremony held on the banks of the Mississippi River at Beale Street Landing in Memphis, Tenn. in May.
The stamps are available for purchase at your local post office and at store.usps.com.