Eighty-one Days – Legendary Promises
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
“The words above, thought to be the motto, are chiseled in gray granite over the entrance to the New York City Post Office on 8th Avenue and come from Book 8, Paragraph 98, of The Persian Wars by Herodotus.”
This is the motto or slogan and indeed the promise from the United States Postal Service that I counted on for so many years. During summer vacations I counted on their promise to deliver promptly the letters I’d write to my friends who went away to camp or to stay with their grandparents. I would be away part of the summer to visit my grandmother. I’d wait by the door for the mail carrier, (then called postman) to bring me letters from my dad who could not take off from work to be with us. Later, I’d wait for letters from my friends serving abroad during the Vietnam war. I couldn’t wait to get the pictures they would take especially of the celebrities showcased in the Bob Hope tours with the USO. Then, there was waiting for the acceptance letters from the dream college I had applied to. And of course, (I have kept them all until now) there were the love letters my husband would write to me with an occasional poem dedicated to me or to our love.
I am sure all of you can relate to these moments that were made possible because we had a reliable source. Namely the postal service. We could count on the promise that no matter what the mail would arrive. Of course, there were delays at times and return to sender mail even though you had written the correct address on the envelope. We have all had some of those experiences.
There has been so much to digest these days and nothing is as important as the devastation caused by this deadly and highly contagious virus that has invaded our country. But the possible threat proposed against our postal system is something we have to stop. Our democracy depends on our postal service. I do not understand how we can allow defunding or privatization of this precious service. The essential workers of this institution have been diligent to get us our medicines and other goods during the stay home mandate.
I remember one of my teachers introducing us to pen pal writing. I had a few pen pals that continued writing to me way beyond the elementary school years. The teacher wrote the postal service slogan on the board. She told us how important it was to have a postal service and explained the many ways that it helped people to stay connected.
I continue to write letters . Yes, I to friends and family even though it has kind of become a lost art and old fashion. I use email and text messaging but there is nothing like writing to a letter to a friend or family member and receiving one from them as well. My grand daughter started writing me letters during the pandemic. These letters made my day. They are my greatest treasure. She enclosed drawings and would tell us how much she missed us.
I know that this may sound over sentimental but a promise is a promise is what I believe firmly. The following is another inscription that sums it all:
Messenger of Sympathy and Love
Servant of Parted Friends
Consoler of the Lonely
Bond of the Scattered Family
Enlarger of the Common Life
Carrier of News and Knowledge
Instrument of Trade and Industry
Promoter of Mutual Acquaintance
Of Peace and of Goodwill Among Men and Nations.
Please do your part in helping to save our postal service. No matter what your political affiliation or philosophy, I am sure that you will want to think about what the threats being made implicate. Remember many people now rely on the postal service to survive. We must protect the legendary promise that was made to all of us, we the people. All it takes is a postcard or letter to your senator or congressman or woman to insist that they do something to fund the USPS.
The USPS traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, when Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general. … It was elevated to a cabinet-level department in 1872, and was transformed by the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 into the United States Postal Service as an independent agency.
In 1774, the British fired Franklin from his postmaster job because of his revolutionary activities. However, the following year, he was appointed postmaster general of the United Colonies by the Continental Congress. Franklin held the job until late in 1776, when he was sent to France as a diplomat. He left a vastly improved mail system, with routes from Florida to Maine and regular service between the colonies and Britain.
President George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood, a former Massachusetts congressman, as the first postmaster general of the American nation under the new U.S. constitution in 1789. At the time, there were approximately 75 post offices in the country.
These are the states that allow vote by mail: