Neither Snow nor Rain

Neither Snow nor Rain

by Sandra Merville Hart

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Many people believe that this quote, which means that postal workers will deliver the mail regardless of the weather, is the official motto of the U.S. Postal Service.    

The U.S. Postal Service does not have an official motto.

Although our country’s post office doesn’t have an official motto, there’s a good reason for the confusion. This quote is engraved on the outside of the building of the James A. Farley Post Office building in New York City. This building, which is the main post office in the city, is located at 8th Avenue and 33rd Street.

The motto was used in ancient Greece.

The famous quote is from Herodotus, a man who lived in the fifth century B.C. (approximately 484 BC – 425 BC). In his book of The Persian Wars, (Book 8, Paragraph 98) Herodotus used this phrase to describe the men who delivered messages with outstanding speed in the Persian government under Xerxes I of Persia.

So the people of Persia had some kind of mail service as long ago as the fifth century B.C. The workers rode horses as they delivered messages.

It is amazing to think about the people who lived so many centuries before us and how they found ways to meet their needs, just as we do today.

 

 Sources

 “Frequently Asked Questions,” National Postal Museum, 2014 March 25 http://www.postalmuseum.si.edu/museum/1e_faqs.html#museum10.

 “Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations,” Bartleby.com, 2014 March 25 http://www.bartleby.com/73/1439.html.

 “Postal Service Mission and ‘Motto.'” United States Postal Service, 2014 March 25 http://about.usps.com/who-we-are/postal-history/mission-motto.pdf.

 “Postal Service Motto,” PostalMag.com, 2014 March 25 http://postalmag.com/postal-service-motto.htm.

 “The Question,” Infoplease.com, 2014 March 25 http://www.infoplease.com/askeds/post-office-motto.html.

 “Xerxes I,” Ancient History Encyclopedia, 2014 March 25 http://www.ancient.eu.com/Xerxes_I/.

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