For most people, USPS means one thing—getting mail sent and delivered. While it’s certainly true that USPS does a good job, there’s a lot more to know about this agency that so many of us take for granted.
In this article, we’ll cover USPS’ mission statement, its motto, and the oath postal workers have to take before their first day on the job. So, if you’re ready to dive into some USPS trivia, then keep reading!
What Is USPS’ Motto In 2023?
USPS does not have an official motto in 2023. However, it does recognize “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” as an unofficial motto. A selection of Charles William Eliot’s poem “The Letter” is also sometimes associated with the Postal Service.
We’ll explain how these mottos came to be, as well as go over the USPS mission statement and the oath, so make sure you keep reading for more facts!
What Is the USPS Motto?
Contrary to popular belief, the United States Postal Service doesn’t have an official motto. That said, the agency does recognize two unofficial slogans.
Perhaps the more famous unofficial motto is “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
This saying appears chiseled in gray granite over the entrance of the James A. Farley Building in Manhattan, a building that formerly served as the city’s main post office.
Given its prominent location, it makes sense why many confuse this saying for the official USPS motto.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that this slogan is not a formal commitment. In fact, USPS routinely delays mail during bad weather.
Another piece of text that’s often associated with the Postal Service is a poem called “The Letter” by Charles William Eliot.
Messenger of Sympathy and Love
Servant of Parted Friends
Consoler of the Lonely
Bond of the Scattered Family
Enlarger of the Common Life
Carrier of News and Knowledge
Instrument of Trade and Industry
Promoter of Mutual Acquaintance
Of Peace and of Goodwill Among Men and
This text was revised by Woodrow Wilson, and was inscribed on the facade of the Old City Post Office in Washington, D.C., now the site of the National Postal Museum.
Where Does the Post Office Motto Come From?
USPS’ unofficial motto comes from book 8, paragraph 98, of The Persian Wars by Herodotus, a Greek historian.
In the book, Herodotus describes the wars between the Greeks and Persians (500-449 B.C.).
During the conflict, the Persians operated a system of mounted postal couriers who served with great loyalty.
This saying became associated with USPS, thanks to one of the architects of the original Manhattan Post Office, William Mitchell Kendall.
Kendall was the son of a classics scholar and read Greek for pleasure.
He selected the inscription to pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands of USPS workers who deliver mail in all kinds of bad weather.
What Is the Mission Statement of USPS?
USPS is an independent establishment of the Executive Branch of the United States government.
Its mission statement can be found in Section 101(a) of Title 39 of the U.S. Code, which is also known as the Postal Reorganization Act.
This statement reads as follows:
“The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people.
It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities.”
Essentially, USPS is pledging to transport mail to every address in the United States for the purposes of furthering education, literacy, business, and entertainment.
What Is the USPS Oath?
USPS’ oath states that postal workers must solemnly swear to do the following:
- Support and defend the Constitution of the United States
- Protect the U.S. against all foreign and domestic enemies
- Be faithful and allegiant to the U.S.
- Take this oath freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion
- Faithfully discharge the “duties of the office” of their job
Do USPS Workers Have to Take an Oath?
All USPS workers have to take the USPS oath before their first day on the job, and there are many reasons for this.
First, postal workers have unique access to homes and businesses, and by taking the oath, employees are pledging not to abuse the public’s trust.
Next, postal employees are entrusted with private correspondence, valuable items, and important documents like tax returns and Social Security checks.
Again, the oath reminds postal employees of the importance of their work, and its impact on people’s relationships, finances, and day-to-day comfort.
USPS states that the oath is also designed to make sure employees support the Constitution, and are faithfully committed to performing their jobs.
Given the importance of this commitment, people who commit anti-U.S. acts are banned from holding government office or employment.
Such acts include engaging in insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution, and giving help to enemies of the United States.
Although USPS does not have an official motto, the agency does a good job living up to the dictum of the unofficial motto by delivering mail, regardless of bad weather.
It’s tough to say for sure, but it’s likely that the USPS mission statement and oath are also part of this commitment.