(AP) -- The first American in space, Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, finally has his own stamp.
The Postal Service dedicated a stamp Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of Shepard's suborbital flight, Freedom 7. The ceremony took place at Kennedy Space Center on the eve of the anniversary.
Shepard's three daughters were there, as was Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter. Carpenter told the crowd it's fitting that a Forever stamp was chosen to honor Shepard.
Carpenter says Shepard didn't like it that Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin beat him into space by less than a month. But he says the success of Shepard's flight on May 5, 1961, helped lead America to the moon.
Shepard went on to command Apollo 14. He died in 1998.
Explore further: Space sex geckos at risk as Russia loses control of satellite
More information: NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/50th