True blue

Two ZIP Codes.

The terrorist attacks that turned a cloudless September morning into a nightmare 20 years ago obliterated two ZIP Codes at ground zero.

10047 and 10048 perished in the inferno and, out of respect, have not been used since by the Postal Service.

It’s a quiet tribute and fitting in its quietness. It is hard to remember now, in our hypersaturated media environment, how awful the quiet was that fell on the nation after 9/11.

There was no cellphone service along the Eastern Seaboard, and no Facebook or Twitter to fill the void. Radio and television networks struggled to fill the air with something — anything — that could inform, enlighten or comfort.

In homes and offices across the United States, people stood, speechless, before televisions playing the stunning images in a never-ending loop.

But there was another kind of quiet at play that day: the quiet heroism of postal workers.

In an online exhibit titled Tragedy in September,” the National Postal Museum gives an idea of how USPS employees helped behind the scenes in big ways and small:

At the Jersey City station, stunned survivors were transported to shelters and train stops in postal trucks. Those who stumbled past the Brooklyn Post Office were offered a cool drink of water. A supervisor at the Church Street station near ground zero saved countless lives by evacuating the building before the 110-story twin towers collapsed.

Just weeks later, disaster struck again in the form of anthrax-laced letters, a bioterrorist attack that literally hit home for the Postal Service.

Two workers at a USPS processing and distribution center in Washington, DC — Joseph P. Curseen Jr. and Thomas L. Morris Jr. — died from exposure to the toxin, and others were sickened.

At a 2011 vigil marking the attacks’ 10th anniversary, the workers who handled and delivered mail in the presence of the invisible enemy were called “quiet heroes of the entire nation.”

That quiet heroism is alive and well today — postal workers’ dedication during the coronavirus pandemic is proof of that, as is a quick glance at Link’s Heroes’ Corner column.

There’s a famous saying that urges people to “look for the helpers” in times of crisis. For so many, that helper was, and is, dressed in postal blue.

The National Postal Museum’s website has “The Postal 9/11 Story,” a four-part series, along with “In the Line of Duty,” an online exhibit that includes a look at the World Trade Center attack.

Patriot Day

U.S. flag at half-mast

President Joe Biden has ordered U.S. flags flown at half-staff Saturday, Sept. 11, to honor victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

USPS facilities are required to fly the flag at half-staff this day, also known as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.

To fly the flag at half-staff, hoist the flag to the peak for an instant and then lower it to the half-staff position.

The flag should be raised to the peak again before it’s lowered for the day.

Facilities that fly the flag at all times and are closed Saturday should lower the flag to half-staff when the facility closes prior to Sept. 11. Return the flag to full staff when the facility opens on the next business day.

For additional information, refer to the Postal Service’s Administrative Support Manual, which explains the organization’s guidelines on U.S. flag display and maintenance.

Special occasion

The Postal Service has released its first newly designed Happy Birthday stamp in almost two decades.

The Forever stamp is meant to give invitations, envelopes and cards an additional touch of good cheer.

The stamp features the word “happy” prominently in capital letters, with each of the five letters inspired by a different party decoration, while “birthday” appears below in blue surrounded by a flurry of multicolored ribbons and confetti.

Lisa Catalone Castro and Rodolfo Castro designed the stamp, with artwork by Rodolfo. Ethel Kessler served as art director.

The Postal Service’s first Happy Birthday stamp, issued in 1987, showed a candle on a slice of cake and was part of a Special Occasions booklet reflecting a variety of greetings. The following year, a second Special Occasions booklet included a Happy Birthday stamp depicting a colorful row of candles.

Later, a 2002 stamp featured the words “Happy Birthday” amid a smattering of festive confetti.

The new stamp, released Sept. 9, is available at Post Offices and usps.com.

Social intelligence

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

1. How many official social media accounts does USPS have?

a) Two
b) Four
c) Six
d) Eight

2. How many customers have signed up for Informed Delivery using the ID Enroll app since 2017?

a) 65
b) 6,500
c) 65,000
d) 650,000

3. Fill in the blank: Research shows most malicious software — also known as malware — is delivered through emails, often as (blank) attachments.

a) GIF
b) HTML
c) JPG
d) PDF

4. What is the deadline for USPS employees to register for the Worldwide Wellness challenge?

a) Sept. 27
b) Sept. 28
c) Sept. 29
d) Sept. 30

5. True or false: The Emilio Sanchez stamp selvage features a photograph of the author taken in 1968.

a) True
b) False

Answers: 1) c. 2) c. 3) b. 4) a. 5) b. The photo was taken in 1993.

Share your feedback at uspslink@usps.gov. Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.