Postal purpose

The Postal Service now has a mission statement that describes the organization’s history, its duties and its status as an essential part of the federal government.

In April, the USPS Board of Governors adopted the mission statement — the first in the Postal Service’s history — as part of the governors’ work to conduct long-range planning and set strategic policy for the organization.

“For more than two centuries, the Postal Service has helped bind the nation together by providing prompt, reliable and efficient delivery services. The new mission statement reflects these values and articulates the organization’s vital role as a trusted part of the federal government in every community across the nation,” said Board of Governors Chairman Robert M. “Mike” Duncan.

The statement describes three parts of the Postal Service’s mission:

  • To serve the American people and, through its universal service obligation, bind the nation together by maintaining and operating its unique, vital and resilient infrastructure
  • To provide trusted, safe and secure communications and services between the government and the American people, businesses and their customers, and the American people with each other
  • To serve all areas of the nation, making full use of evolving technologies

Additionally, the statement explains how USPS will carry out its mission, including remaining an integral part of the U.S. government and providing all Americans with universal and open access to its unrivaled delivery and retail network; using technology, innovation and, where appropriate, private-sector partnerships to meet its customers’ changing needs; operating in a modern, efficient and effective manner; and remaining an employer of choice, including attracting and retaining high-quality employees.

The Postal Service’s mission and purpose are also described in Section 101 of Title 39 of the U.S. Code, originally enacted in 1970.

The full mission statement is available on usps.com.

 

Vital voices

The Postal Service has released Voices of the Harlem Renaissance, a pane of Forever stamps that celebrate the lives and legacies of four of the literary movement’s greatest voices: novelist Nella Larsen, educator Alain Locke, historian Arturo Alfonso Schomburg and poet Anne Spencer.

The Harlem Renaissance was a defining moment in American history.

After World War I, many highly creative African Americans flocked to the New York City neighborhood of Harlem, where the northward migration of African Americans looking for work, immigration from the Caribbean and the presence of important activist organizations had all helped to establish a bustling center of black life.

Caught up in a whirl of friendships and rivalries, a vibrant social scene and an inspiring air of creative exchange, a dynamic community of African Americans produced exceptional literature, music and visual arts.

The creative energy that found its strongest expression in Harlem during the 1920s was also evident in Chicago; Washington, DC; and other communities where African Americans sought to articulate their experiences and give shape to their dreams.

The Voices of the Harlem Renaissance stamps feature stylized pastel portraits of Larsen, Locke, Schomburg and Spencer based on historic photographs. Each stamp also incorporates African-inspired motifs as background elements.

Gary Kelley served as the stamp artist, while Greg Breeding, a USPS art director, designed the stamps.

The Postal Service canceled the dedication ceremony for the stamps due to social distancing guidance.

The 20-stamp pane is available at Post Offices and usps.com.

Flag notice

U.S. flag flying

On May 21, President Trump ordered U.S. flags flown at half-staff to honor the victims of the coronavirus pandemic.

Flags should be flown at half-staff until sunset Sunday, May 24.

Additionally, there are flag requirements for Memorial Day, which is Monday, May 25.

Postal Service facilities that are open on the holiday must fly the U.S. flag at half-staff.

The U.S. flag must be flown at half-staff from sunrise — or the hour when it’s raised — until noon. Then, hoist the flag to the peak of the staff, where it either must fly until the time of closing or no later than sunset (unless the flag is lighted).

When the U.S. flag is flown at half-staff, all other flags must fly at half-staff, too.

Facilities that fly the flag at all times and are closed Memorial Day should lower the flag to half-staff when the facility closes prior to the holiday. Return the flag to full staff when the facility opens Tuesday, May 26.

For more information, refer to the Postal Service’s guidelines for U.S. flag display and maintenance, as well as requirements for displaying the POW-MIA flag.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, a federal holiday to honor U.S. military members who died while serving their country, will be observed Monday, May 25.

“The Postal Service is proud to be one of the nation’s largest employers of current and former members of the armed forces, and we honor their contributions every day,” said Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan. “On Memorial Day, we express our gratitude to those members of the military who answered the call of duty and paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.”

Memorial Day was first widely observed in 1868. For many years, the commemoration, known as Decoration Day, honored fallen soldiers from the Civil War.

Congress made Memorial Day a national holiday in 1887. After World War I, the day was expanded to honor service members who died in all American wars.

In 1968, Congress changed the annual observance from May 30 to the last Monday in May.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website has more information, including a detailed history of the holiday.

Revved up

“News Quiz” is a weekly feature that lets you test your knowledge of recent Link stories. The correct answers appear at the end.

1. True or false: The Postal Service recently reported total revenue of $17.8 billion for fiscal year 2020’s second quarter (Jan. 1-March 31), down 2 percent from the same period one year earlier.

a) True
b) False

2. Since USPS began allowing customers to manage their change-of-address requests online, the number of change-of-address calls that are transferred to customer care center agents has dropped by how much?

a) 20 percent
b) 21 percent
c) 22 percent
d) 23 percent

3. Fill in the blank: To help foster workplace engagement, USPS wants managers and supervisors to conduct (blank) conversations with employees.

a) Certified engaged
b) Next-level connection
c) State of the team
d) Talk it out Tuesday

4. Where in Ohio does Kyle West, the letter carrier recently honored in a White House ceremony, work?

a) Canton
b) Cincinnati
c) Cleveland
d) Columbus

5. Whose photographs appear on the new American Gardens Forever stamps?

a) James A. Fowler
b) Allen Rokach
c) John Schaefer
d) Bob Wick

Answers: 1) b. USPS reported total revenue of $17.8 billion for fiscal year 2020’s second quarter, up 2 percent from one year earlier. 2) b. 3) b. 4) b. 5) b.