Among the attendees at the recent dedication ceremony for the USS Missouri stamp in Hawaii was a Postal Service employee who was there to honor her father.
Erica Mann, a senior diversity specialist at the Mid-Florida Processing and Distribution Center in Lake Mary, is the daughter of the late Rear Adm. Charles Mann.
The elder Mann, who died in 1987, was serving on the USS Arizona on the day Pearl Harbor, HI, was attacked by the Empire of Japan in December 1941, which heralded the United States’ entry into World War II.
“My dad happened to be on land when the attack happened because a fellow officer asked to switch days with him. That’s the only reason why he wasn’t among the dead on the Arizona,” Erica Mann said.
“It was difficult for him. He always felt he should have been on ship with his men.”
More than three-and-a-half years later, Japan would capitulate. The surrender ceremony took place on the deck of the USS Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945.
Adm. Mann, who was then a young officer assigned to the battleship, witnessed the surrender.
“My father was present at the two events that bookended World War II in the Pacific,” said Erica Mann. “For me to be on that deck and be the in spot where my dad was standing — to be able to stand where that took place — was really incredible.”
The Missouri is anchored in Pearl Harbor near the USS Arizona Memorial, which sits above the sunken battleship.
During the stamp dedication event , Michael Carr, president and chief executive officer of the USS Missouri Memorial Association, noted the connection between the ship and the USS Arizona.
“To stand on the surrender deck where World War II ended … and see the Arizona memorial where it began for the United States is to feel history. There are very few places in this country and the world where you can experience that sensation,” he said.
Likewise, Erica Mann marvels at her personal connection to the stamp.
“At the ceremony, the speakers talked about preserving the history of the Missouri and that the Postal Service is helping to do that with the stamp,” she said. “When I started at USPS, I never thought I’d be able to connect working here with my dad.”