By WLOX Staff
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi Lighthouse has stood as a symbol of strength and pride for Mississippians for generations, standing tall through hurricanes like Camille and Katrina. Now the lighthouse is being honored by the U.S. Postal Service as part of the Gulf Coast Lighthouses stamp series. The 44-cent First-Class stamp went on sale Thursday.
The Biloxi Lighthouse is featured as one of five lighthouses that withstood the fury of devastating hurricanes - in some cases while partially submerged. Other lighthouses included are located at Matagorda Island, Texas; Sabine Pass, Louisiana; Sand Island, Alabama; and Fort Jefferson, Florida.
"The Biloxi Lighthouse has been a symbol of maritime safety, hope and goodwill since it was constructed in 1848, and today stands proudly as an icon of Gulf Coast life," said Governor Haley Barbour, who was unable to attend the event. "Since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005 - the worst natural disaster in American history - the lighthouse has assumed an even greater role, symbolizing the indomitable spirit and determination of Gulf Coast residents to recover and rebuild bigger and better than ever. I want to thank the U.S. Postal Service for including the Biloxi Lighthouse in the new Gulf Coast Lighthouses stamp series, giving new recognition to an old friend."
A dedication ceremony took place Thursday at the Biloxi Lighthouse under conditions in stark contrast to 2005's Hurricane Katrina when a 26-foot storm surge engulfed Biloxi's treasured landmark, placing nearly half of the 64-foot tall structure underwater.
"Like all American lighthouses, the Gulf Coast lighthouses have a rich and colorful history," said U.S. Postal Service Governor Katherine C. Tobin, while dedicating the stamps. "They stood witness to the best and the worst times in our nation. They led the way to safe harbors as they warned of dangerous coastlines. They welcomed ships carrying precious cargo and new citizens to a growing country, and they have been eyewitnesses to the ravages of the Civil War and withstood devastating storms. I hope communities near Biloxi, Matagorda Island, Sabine Pass, Sand Island and Fort Jefferson will experience the same sense of pride as the Postal Service when using these beautiful stamps to adorn their letters and packages."
Joining Tobin in dedicating the stamps were Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway, Biloxi Historian Emeritus Murella Powell, Alabama Lighthouse Association President Captain Hal Pierce (retired from the U.S. Navy) and U.S. Postal Service Southeast Area Vice President Terry Wilson.
"Our lighthouse was halfway submerged during Katrina," Mayor Holloway explained, "yet it still stands tall today as testament to the resilience of our community. She is our enduring landmark - our signature landmark. We are very proud the Postal Service chose the Biloxi lighthouse for this series."