From the cover alone, I suspect you have intuited that this issue of The American Philatelist is dedicated to the philately of affection. As long as mankind has been recording history, we have been expressing our fondness for our beloveds. From the ancient texts of The Love Song for Shu-Sin and the Song of Solomon to the wistful lyrics of modern ballads, we assemble our thoughts of yearning and send them off to our affianced — eventually offering to discerning collectors the philately of love.
As I again contemplate the philatelic experience, I offer the thought that possibly the highest form of communication is the expression of love. Not just the sweetly shared emotions of infatuation, but an abiding concern for the human state and a deeply-held aspiration for the good of our fellow man. Philately has a great role to play in both the preservation and proliferation of such enunciations.
In the December 2017 issue, I wrote of the “…experience of discovery and exploration…” that is an integral aspect of the impulse to collect. We turn this month to letters of love as we pursue a pastime with the power to unite generations and bridge cultures.
Beginning on page 132, David Ball guides us through the correspondence from a young Marine to his sweetheart at home. The journey begins as many do; a young warrior-in-training conveying his daily grind. But the path we follow becomes something quite different. Through the letters and (sometimes raw) language we see a boy marched through the gauntlet of forced maturation. An otherwise ordinary teen exposed to, recording and ultimately sharing a personal encounter with the horrors of war.
Today, nearly 44 years after the end of the Vietnam War, talk of the conflict still evokes polarized convictions. My goal, with the inclusion of this article, is not to rekindle those emotions, but to encourage our pursuit to share the impact of history. The works in this issue, in ways direct and subtle, provide for us knowledge to digest and lessons to disseminate. My challenge to you: shelve the political excitement and share the lessons informed from the content of the philately.
With that charge, I also bid you farewell. Guiding The American Philatelist and other content for the APS has been an extraordinary honor for me. I am grateful for the support of philatelic friends and the dedicated effort of our authors, contributors and members. Mark Kellner will take over as editor starting with the March magazine. I am certain he will be an asset to the society moving forward and I encourage you to reach out to Mark and share with him your ideas, suggestions and articles. You are The American Philatelist and I know he will appreciate your contributions as much as I have.
My thanks go out to Scott English, Ken Martin, Rick Banks and the entire APS staff for their support. The editorial team is dedicated to serving every member and I could not have succeeded without their tireless efforts. My best wishes to you as you enjoy and promote the hobby!
This article originally published in the February 2019 edition of The American Philatelist.