Two days is a long time for a letter to travel from Petaluma to Santa Rosa. One hundred years is a much longer time; but that how long it took for a stamp to be produced in honor of your historic first airmail flight in 1911. Just as you were not recognized as an “official” pilot serving the USPO back then; the “personalized” stamp designed and made available to the public by a local group of c itizens is not considered an “official: Commemorative Stamp issued by the USPO, today.
On more than one occasion, your historic flight on February 17-18, 1911, has been acknowledged as the first in the U.S. and publicly celebrated by citizens on its 50th and the 75th anniversaries. In 1968, when a monument for this feat was dedicated in Kenilworth Park with an elaborate ceremony lead by Mayor Helen Putnam and Argus-Courier columnist, Bill Soberanes, the keynote speaker, Congressman Don Clausen stated, “Fred Wiseman’s history-making flight … is recorded in the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington as the first authorized air mail service in the world – a flight that was sanctioned by local post offices and made available to the public.”
This year, several Sonoma County communities through their local historical societies and museums have sponsored various events and activities that have educated another generation of adults and children of your flight back to your hometown, which this year, included cargo consisting of not only newspapers, groceries, and copies of the three letters you carried in 1911; but a letter from the current Petaluma Postmaster Barry Amiri to Irma Zine, the Postmaster for Santa Rosa.
Just as many citizens gathered to watch your flying exhibitions in the early 1900s, hundreds of citizens have participated in commemorative activities over the past three days, honoring your pioneer aviator accomplishments, one hundred years later.
P.S. Readers of his blog may also be interested in viewing Petaluma Pete’s latest Just for Kids video available at http://www.fredwiseman.org/20110220/petaluma-pete-posts-his-petaluma-re-enactment-recap/ and listen to the webcast sponsored by the Sonoma County Museum and the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., http://www.fredwiseman.org/20110220/celebrating-a-century-of-airmail-a-discussion-of-the-wiseman-cooke-flight-with-smithsonian-curators/