For National Thank a Mail Carrier Day on February 4, chances are the weather is windy and blustery cold, and maybe even snowy where you live. But the weather shouldn’t stop you from thanking your letter carrier because they are the ones braving the conditions to get the mail to you.
There are plenty of jokes told about undelivered letters, but nobody gets them, so we will refrain from telling them here. The key to telling mailman jokes is good delivery, so we will leave those for the dedicated men and women who will be making sure the mail gets delivered today. They deserve our appreciation every day, but too often they are not recognized for the work they do. So today we salute the mail carriers who ensure our post reaches us.
History of National Thank a Mail Carrier Day
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Although these words are carved in stone over the entrance to the old New York City Post Office building on 8th Avenue, the U.S. Postal Service does not have an official motto. But if it did, this would surely be it.
According to the USPS, the quote often mistaken as the U.S. Post Office motto comes from “The Persian Wars” written by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus around 445 B.C. and refers to the Persian system of mounted postal couriers who “served with great fidelity” during the wars between the Greeks and Persians (500-449 B.C.).It serves as a fitting tribute to our nation’s letter carriers who “serve with great fidelity” in the faithful execution of their work as public servants.
Beginning in 1692, the first formal system of mail delivery was established in the American colonies. Postmasters were appointed in each colony with a tavern utilized in each community by postal riders for depositing mail instead of delivering mail directly to individual addresses.
In 1775, the Second Continental Congress established the creation of a United States Post Office and appointed Benjamin Franklin as head of the department. A woman named Mary Katherine Goddard who served under Franklin may have been America’s first female postmaster when she was appointed by Franklin to be postmaster in Baltimore Maryland that same year. This early Post Office Department hired post riders who rode horseback hundreds of miles over dangerous and isolated territory to deliver mail to remote post offices. Some of these brave post riders were commissioned to alert the colonies when British troops were on the move in the early stages of the American War for Independence, and thus the Post Office played a critical role in the American revolution.
After winning the fight for independence from Britain, the first officially recognized Post Office Department of the United States of America opened in 1792, authorized by the newly ratified United States Constitution that empowered Congress to establish Post Offices.
An efficient and dependable system of mail delivery continues to be a vital part of the preservation and strength of modern societies, just as it was vital to the expansion of ancient civilizations. As Herodotus recounted so eloquently, those who carry and deliver mail and “serve with great fidelity” deserve to be recognized and appreciated. On National Thank a Mail Carrier Day, we celebrate the men and women who continue this honorable tradition.
National Thank a Mail Carrier Day timeline
First U.S. woman Postmaster General
Megan Brennan is named as the nation’s first female Postmaster General.
Zip Codes introduced
The 5-digit zip code system was implemented nationwide on July 1, 1963.
First American postage stamps issued
The United States Post Office Department prints its first stamps, a 5-cent stamp picturing Benjamin Franklin and a 10-cent stamp picturing George Washington.
First colonial American postal system established
Benjamin Franklin oversees the first colonial postal system established by William Goddard. Mary Katherine Goddard is appointed Baltimore’s postmaster and is believed to be the first woman postmaster in colonial America.
National Thank a Mail Carrier Day FAQs
How do you thank a mailman?
First and foremost, simply saying “thank you” in person is always appropriate and appreciated. If you want to give a tangible thank you, the U.S. Postal Service asks that the public abides by the rules and regulations for postal employees accepting gifts and gratuities.
Is there a mail carrier appreciation day?
Yes, National National Thank A Mail Carrier Day is on February 4.
Is today National Postal Worker Day?
Although similar to National Thank a Mail Carrier Day, “National Postal Worker Day” on July 1 recognizes all postal workers, not just those who carry and deliver the mail to residences and businesses.
National Thank a Mail Carrier Day Activities
Just say “Thank you”
Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Make the extra effort today to personally thank your letter carrier for his or her service. If you absolutely cannot do so in person, leave a thank you note in your mailbox.
Visit the National Postal Museum or take a virtual tour
From building the critical commercial aviation network to a rail-hopping dog who traveled the country with the railway mail service in the late 1800s, a visit to the National Postal Museum in Washington, DC is a fascinating treasury of our nation’s postal service history. The National Postal Museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC where admission is always free.
Send a letter or postcard via “snail-mail”
We know you are busy and your phone is within easy reach in your pocket or purse. But if you really want to show your mail carrier appreciation, instead of sending someone a text to say hello or happy birthday, make a commitment to send letters or greeting cards again. Today is the perfect day to get started by writing a letter or card, affixing a stamp to it, and putting it in your outgoing mail.
Five Famous People Whose Careers Began With The Post Office
President Abraham Lincoln
When he was just 24 years old, the man who would later become the sixteenth President of the United States was appointed and served as postmaster of the New Salem, Illinois post office from May 7, 1833, until the office closed in 1836.
American singer and actor Bing Crosby worked as a mail clerk before crooning and dancing his way into American hearts and movies.
Disneyland and Disneyworld founder Walt Disney worked as a substitute mail carrier before his career in animation and family entertainment.
American actor Rock Hudson worked as a letter carrier in Winnetka, Illinois before becoming one of Hollywood’s favorite leading men.
Aviator Charles Lindbergh became the first contract airmail pilot in 1929.
Why We Love National Thank a Mail Carrier Day
They are neighborhood heroes
They keep watch over the neighborhoods they deliver. Letter carriers get to know the people, the dogs, the houses, the businesses, and the cars in the communities they serve, If something is amiss along their route, mail carriers are often the first to notice and call 911. Mail carriers have saved people from burning buildings, rescued a sex trafficking victim, and a man pinned under his car.
Their work keeps the art of letter writing alive
Emails and text messages may get to their destination faster, but nothing says “I’m thinking about you“ quite the way a hand-written letter on beautiful stationery or a note written inside a birthday card. If the Post Office stops home mail delivery, the art of letter writing will likely, and sadly, become less frequent.
Mail Carriers deliver smiles
Sure, you may cuss at the crunched up reams of political propaganda and holiday sales circulars seasonally stuffed inside your mailbox, but mail carriers also deliver smiles in the form of birthday cards, thank you notes, graduation announcements, wedding invitations, postcards, magazines, and packages. Remember that “junk mail” pays to keep the smiles coming.
National Thank a Mail Carrier Day dates