| While some may like the new radio
ad promoting the FirstGov.gov website, the fact is that the US is trying to
promote that website as a way for people to get factual information about the
US and the US Government. So, we ask, why should an ad for the website contain
The ad in question mentions
President Abraham Lincoln and how he should have used ZIP codes but did not.
The fact is that President Lincoln served as the nations sixteenth President
from March 4, 1861 until he was assassinated on April 15, 1865, or about 98
years before ZIP Codes were implemented on July 1, 1963.
ZIP stands for Zoning Improvement Plan, and was
implemented when mail transportation and delivery were entering a new age that
required a better transportation and delivery system. Previously, mail delivery
used, but did not require, a two digit number following the city that
designated the local post office building. An example of this would be a letter
with a street address followed by a city line such as "Cleveland, Ohio 13."
The 1963 ZIP plan, featuring a mail carrier cartoon
known as Mr. ZIP, converted the two digit system into a 5 digit number
identifying the specific postal building from which carrier delivery would be
managed. The letter above would now end with "Cleveland, Ohio 44113." The
current system, called ZIP+4, was created in 1963 to identify the specific
carrier delivery route.
In essence, the US
Government, in its quest to promote a website to give out facts has created a
false lore in its advertisement. If the US wants to promote a service to get
facts out, it should start by telling the truth.