In times of war, soldiers are required to take up arms and defend our rights and freedoms. A select few are called upon to perform great acts of valour and self-sacrifice, becoming inspirations to their brothers in arms, and heroes to their country. On October 21st, 2004, two new postage stamps will honour the Canadian recipients of the Victoria Cross, the premier military decoration for gallantry. The 49c stamps mark the 150th anniversary of the award and its first Canadian recipient. Canada Post will unveil the stamps at a special ceremony at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa on Sunday, October 24.
The stamps were designed by Pierre-Yves Pelletier, who has over 100 stamps to his credit. One stamp features an actual medal and is based on photographs provided by the Canadian War Museum. The second stamp depicts an illustration of the Canadian Victoria Cross, approved in 1993 by Queen Elizabeth II. Pelletier also drew the illustration for the unique pane of 16 stamps, over which is printed the names of all 94 Canadian recipients of the Victoria Cross. The names appear over a subdued image of a soldier, sailor and airman.