The extinction of the postal service

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By Dominique Smith / Staff Writer

A dying service (Dylan Slusser/Editors Assistant)

By Dominique Smith / Staff Writer


Herodotus, the Greek historian, coined the phrase, “neither heat, nor rain, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from swift completion of their appointed rounds,” as a reflection of his admiration for the Persian Mounted postal carriers in 500 B.C.

This has since become the national slogan for postal workers all over the United States since 1896, but the history of the United States Postal Service doesn’t start there.

It goes back years earlier, to Benjamin Franklin.

Once upon a time before the U.S. became the place it is today, Franklin worked as the General Postmaster for the Royal Empire.

However, because of his support for the colonies’ independence, he was dismissed.

This turned out to be a good thing, not only because the colonies gained their independence, but they eventually appointed him as postmaster for the new American postal unit.

The postal service is a legacy of freedom and Franklin could have never predicted his idea of a nation-wide post office would pave the way for technology, or that technology would kill what we’ve come to know as an American custom.

On Dec. 3, over 3,000 post offices will close and 120,000 employees will be laid off as a result.

This may be a shock to many Americans, but to the current Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe, this was something that was bound to happen.

“Americans don’t need any more catalogs,” he said.

It’s sad to say that somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the need to communicate with one another through mail.

With the rising trend of social networking and e-mail, the ink well is drying up.

With the United States Postal Service owing $5.5 million to the U.S. government, the numbers don’t lie.

The post office is losing more money just by staying open.

With instant communication becoming such a trend and people being able to video chat, how soon will we be taking down phone poles and ousting land lines, for instance, just because everyone uses a cell phone?

Today’s generations will never realize that before the instant gratification of social networking websites and e-mail, people waited at their mail boxes to receive letters, birthday cards, checks, and even letters from their loved ones during times of war.

Some even depended on mail for the news.

Even though the post office is closing down, it’s important to not let the struggles and accomplishments of the U.S. Postal Service die in vain.

For the last 236 years, they have advanced the art of sending mail.

However, in this day and age, our grandmothers might have to learn how to send e-cookies in order to send messages to their loved ones.

Not even Herodotus could have predicted a state-wide deficit happening in the 21st century, let alone the existence of a digital age. Then again, no one back then could have imagined America existing or developing in the way it has over the last century.

We’ve adopted an “out with the old, in with the new” mindset within our culture and unfortunately, we all should have known the post office would be the next program on the chopping block.

In 1886, Franklin opened the first American post office and he opened it on faith at a time in which America had not yet gained their independence. His first post office will be one of the many that are scheduled to close on Dec. 3. 

There is one bright side to  this news of the impending closure of the post office, which is that bills and junk mail will no longer invade our mail boxes. At least we can rejoice about that.

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