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Pearl Harbor survivor unveils Arizona stamp at Phoenix memorial

Arizona Sec. of State Ken Bennet, Postal Service Manager John Morgan and Pearl Harbor survivor Albert Thomas pose with the new stamp. (KTAR Photo/Bob McClay)

PHOENIX -- A Pearl Harbor veteran was among a group who unveiled a new stamp honoring the U.S.S. Arizona at a Phoenix memorial Tuesday.

"The Postal Service is honoring the U.S.S. Arizona memorial with a new priority mail express stamp," said Postal Service Manager John Morgan. "You can use this stamp when you send packages via priority express mail, which is our fastest shipping service."

Arizona Sec. of State Ken Bennett said the stamp honored those who served at Pearl Harbor, including those who are still alive.

"Probably within the next decade, we won't have any of those Pearl Harbor survivors with us," he said. "Stamps like this will always remind us of the brave men and women who served in our military or are serving today."

One of those Pearl Harbor survivors is 92-year-old Army veteran Albert Thomas of Mesa, Ariz. He said the stamp pays tribute to Pearl Harbor survivors who are still alive today.

"May they be remembered down to the last man," he said.

Thomas then became emotional when he spoke of those who died in the attack.

"I say to them, 'Rest in peace, brothers. Rest in peace.'"

The stamp depicts the U.S.S. Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The Arizona sank after being attacked by Japanese warplanes on Dec. 7, 1941. The stamp had its Hawaii unveiling Friday.

The official price of the stamp is $19.99. It is available at all post offices.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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