America – The Making Of A Nation :: U.S. Symbols
Many sayings, images, animals and even plants are highly symbolic of the United States of America. One of the most famous American symbols is a bird – the bald eagle. The proud eagle has been a symbol of the country since the American Revolution, when eagles soared high above the battlefields. Representing a yearning for freedom, the eagle is one of many symbols Americans identify with.
The Bald Eagle
We see the eagle symbolizing America in many different ways and in lots of different places. The eagle on the Great Seal of the United States of America carries an olive branch in one claw and arrows in the other, symbolizing Congress’ power to decide between peace and war.
In 1969, the lunar module on the Apollo II moon shot was named “Eagle.” On July 20, 1969, the famous message arrived at NASA: “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
But not everyone wanted the bald eagle as the national bird at first. Benjamin Franklin complained the bird had a bad morale character who didn’t make a living honestly. In fact, Franklin thought there was another bird that was hard-working and honest that would better represent America: the wild turkey. However, no one else agreed with him.
In God We Trust
“In God We Trust,” has been featured on U.S. money since the Civil War, but it only became the national motto in 1956. Although many people mistakenly think the national motto is “E Pluribus Unum,” which appears on the Great Seal of the United States of America and, translated from Latin, means “Out of many, one,” the official motto is “In God We Trust.”
The rose is a flower that grows naturally throughout America. It became the national flower in 1986. The rose has a long association with the country: the White House has a famed Rose Garden, and both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson loved breeding the flower.
In 2001, Americans voted the oak as the national tree. The were given a wide variety to choose from, but the oak got the most votes because it grows throughout the country and is prized for its beauty, shade and the durable wood it provides.
Samuel Wilson was a trader whose supplies to the American Army in the War of 1812 were delivered in barrels marked with two letters: U.S. Soldiers joked that the initials stood for Wilson’s nickname: Uncle Sam, and this eventually led to the federal government being known as Uncle Sam.
Later, when an artist named James Montgomery Flagg designed his famous “I Want You” recruiting poster, he based Uncle Sam’s face on his own.