Part 2: What Are American Symbols and What Do They Stand For?
Nov 20, 2022
Throughout history, the United States has had many symbols to represent virtues our great country stands for like unity, strength, resilience, and so many more. In our last article, we dove into symbols like the American flag, the Statue of Liberty, the Bald Eagle, and the Liberty Bell. This time we will explore other popular symbols such as Uncle Sam and the Great Seal.
The Meaning Behind American Symbols
Bearing the same initials as our country, Uncle Sam is a popular symbol personifying the U.S. federal government, or our country in general. According to legend, it came about during the War of 1812 when a meat packer from New York named Samuel Wilson supplied barrels of beef to the United States Army. He would stamp the barrels U.S. for “United States,” but the soldiers started referring to the food as Uncle Sam’s. A local newspaper got wind of the story and published it, resulting in the eventual widespread acceptance of the nickname “Uncle Sam” for the federal government.
The Great Seal
Dating back to the origin of our country, the Great Seal is one of the most recognizable U.S. symbols, appearing on all official documents and treaties. However, agreeing on and adopting this symbol was no small task. It took six years (1776-1782) of debate and committees until an official symbol was adopted. The Great Seal has several different symbols including:
- The bald eagle represents freedom, independence, and liberty.
- A shield held by the eagle exemplifies America’s ability to protect and defend.
- The stripes on the shield symbolize the original thirteen colonies, just as our flag does. The red represents valor and bravery, while the white stands for purity and innocence.
- The field of blue represents the unity of the states along with vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
- The eagle is holding an olive branch, which represents peace, along with arrows, which represent war.
- The eagle is facing towards the olive branch, showing that peace is always the first choice, however, our country will fight if it becomes necessary.
- In the eagle’s beak is our country’s motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” Latin for out of many one. This shows both our country’s individuality and unity.
- The stars in the cloud encircled by rays of light (called a glory) symbolize America’s place amongst the other countries of the world.
It’s clear the United States has several meaningful symbols that represent all the virtues our great country stands for like justice, freedom, independence, unity, and liberty. We like to think of the American flag as a symbol that encompasses all of our country’s virtues, values, and strengths. You can show your admiration for our great country and all it stands for by displaying your very own Real American flag, 100% made in America.