“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” These words are inscribed on the James Farley Post Office in New York. While it’s often thought to be the official motto of the United States Postal Service, it actually doesn’t have an official status as such. Yet every year thousands of these dedicated workers ensure that mail is in your mailbox six days a week.
The history of the postal service is far longer than anyone might imagine, with the first actual mail delivery being organized in Persia. By the efforts of King Cyrus the Great in 550BC, reception and delivery of mail to all of the citizens of every province of his kingdom was mandatory by his decree. So determined was he to see the post get through, he even arranged with his neighboring countries and built roads to facilitate it.
That was just the start of the long and storied history of the mail service, and while it showed up again in India, China, Rome, even the Mongol empire. In 1840 the United Kingdom had a large and sprawling postal system that charged postage based on the number of pages involved and how far the piece would be travelling. Payment was generally collected on delivery rather than issuance.
Sir Rowland Hill changed all that with a massive reform that created the penny postage stamp and ensured that all payments were taken in advance. It was through this reform that the creation of the adhesive backed postage stamp came into existence.
The Mailmen of Today, and the Internet
Things have been changing a lot for your local mailman, especially since the advent of the internet and its dominance over all forms of long-distance communication. But still each day these noble servants go out and ensure that all of your packages, bills, and the occasional Christmas card from mom and grandma appear in your mailbox. No matter what the weather, or how ferocious your pet Chihuahua, these civil servants make sure the mail always gets through.
So take a moment, on Thank a Mailman Day to let them know you appreciate all they do for you and your family. Make sure your dog is tied up or placed somewhere they can’t harass them, greet them with a warm cup of coffee or ice cold glass of tea, or just come out to meet them and thank them for their efforts.