National Neither Snow Nor Rain Day
annually on September 7th
National Neither Snow Nor Rain Day is a day in tribute to U.S. postal workers. The day takes its name from the unofficial motto of the United States Postal service, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." The day is observed on September 7th, because it was on that day in 1914 that New York City opened its new main post office, which has those words inscribed on it. The words were derived from a transcription of an ancient Greek work of Herodotus, which described couriers in ancient Persia.
The New York City post office was originally named Pennsylvania Terminal (it is directly across the street from Pennsylvania Station), then in 1918 its name was changed to General Post Office Building, and in 1982 its name was changed again to the James A. Farley Post Office Building, in honor of the 53rd Postmaster general, who served during the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The post office is also notable for being the post office where Operation Santa was started, and the largest Operation Santa work still happens there. Until 2009, the James Farley post office also had the distinction of being the only post office in New York City to be open twenty-four hours a day, but it now closes in the evenings.
Postal workers and post offices have a long history in the United States. Benjamin Franklin became the first Postmaster General in 1775, when the American Revolution was taking place. In 1847 the first postage stamps were issued, and in 1863, during the Civil War, free city delivery began. Free rural delivery started in 1896, and airmail in 1918. In 1963 the zip code was inaugurated.
How to Observe
The day is best celebrated by leaving a gift for your mail carrier, or by at least thanking them if you see them delivering mail today. If you are thinking about taking a trip somewhere, why not plan a trip to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington D.C.? If you want to learn about postal history from the comfort of your home, view the photo galleries or read other information about the history of the United States Postal Service on its website. Another reading idea may be the aptly titled Neither Snow Nor Rain. Finally, if you are looking for a film to watch today, consider Miracle on 34th Street, as it features both the Foley Post Office, and Operation Santa.