On 1st March, Slovakia released a new €1 stamp postage featuring a green picture of Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Strank against a colourful abstract background. The picture is taken from a popular Iwo Jima photograph of World War II where Strank is one of the flag-raisers. The first-day cover comprises of a cachet featuring a scene based on a Pultizer-prize-winning photograph of six Marines raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi, taken by Joe Rosenthal on 23rd February 1945. Designed by Igor Piacka, the stamp was printed by Tiskarna Hradistko, by offset in sheets of 50. 1 million stamps were issued in total.
A 3¢ US commemorative stamp issued on 11th July 1945 and a 32¢ stamp issued on 2nd September 1995, in a pane of 10, also depict the same scene. The photograph shows Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, Harold Schultz and Harlon Block in the front and Rene Gagnon with Strank at the back.
Born on 10th November 1919, in Jarabina, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia), Strank immigrated to Pennsylvania in his childhood and his father worked in the coal mines there. Michael Strank was inducted to Marine Corps in 1939 and was promoted to sergeant in 1942. He was martyred on 1st March 1945, just a few days after the iconic photograph was taken.
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Image Courtesy: Slovenska Posta