By Linda Lee Denton
With National Postal Worker’s Day just around the corner, let us focus on showing our appreciation for all the federal postal employees who work diligently in moving, delivering mail and providing a vital service to us all. This day was established in 1997 by a fellow worker who realized the endless endeavor of the postal institution across America. This got me wondering… who organized the postal system and what foresight did it take? I can’t seem to get home with all the groceries I need just to get through the week.
With a national population of 327.2 million (as acquired from the 2018 US Census Bureau), mail and the sorting of it is crucial! We live in a world at our fingertips with email, messages, tweets, instagrams, and chat rooms to say the least. With all this ‘instant’ info there is still no match for the written word. Letters, invitations, bills, payments, purchases, political material or just plain junk mail, we ALL receive it! Some of us even send it. According to statista.com and the USPS, 146.6 billion units are mailed annually. This number is astounding. It has grown from the 43 million units (magazines & circulars) mailed per week, approx. 30 million annually, in the inception of the zoning improvement plan.
We owe a thanks also to Jay Edward Day who was the United States Post Master General and saw the need to overhaul and structure the mail system as we know it for its future effectiveness. The United States was introduced to the Zoning Improvement Plan (ZIP) on July 1, 1963. Zip Codes as we know them are composed of five digits and used for pinpointing geographic areas for mail delivery. Robert Moon is credited for the first three digits of the zip code. He structured and submitted this proposal in 1944. These three digits divide the U.S. into ten regions. Zip codes are further categorized by sectional centers (which are central mail processing facilities) as proposed by Henry Bentley Hahn, Sr.
While we as a nation grew, the ZIP needed updating and in 1983 an additional four digits were added- ZIP + 4. These four numbers represent standard mail locations, unique high-volume addresses, P.O. boxes, and military bases.
Impressive, is it not? Just as impressive is our postal workers and our reliance on such an organization and its functioning as a well-oiled machine. Their jobs have them working tireless hours in all kinds of inclement weather. Most of our purchases are filtered through their system and while an occasional item is misrouted, for the most part, we rely on their rate of effectiveness.
Remember to say ‘Thank You’ to your mail carrier or postal worker this Monday and consider yourself unofficially informed.