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July Fourth and 13 Forgotten Symbols of America
A New Symbol to the World
With the election of real estate mogul Donald Trump as the 45th US President in 2016, his newest hotel at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC became a new symbol to the world.
It is s symbol of American business, but also of decadence and conspicuous consumption.
The building is a registered National Historic Site, and a National Historic District. It is on a 60-year lease to Donald Trump.
Forgotten Symbols of the USA
The American's Creed
by William Tyler Page
Adopted by the US House of Representatives on April 3, 1918.
I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the people by the people, for the people, whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a Republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.
The Charter Oak
Message of the Charter Oak
This strong tree became a symbol of first Connecticut and then the entire new nation of America when this state stood up for its rights against King James II of England and the new nation of colony-states followed suit.
In New England, Connecticut received its colonial Charter from King Charles II, while James II tried to revoke it 25 years later. James II then stated that he would break Connecticut in half and redistribute its lands. The colony resisted when the king's men came to reclaim the Charter. By a crafty plan in which the lights went out in the meeting place, the Charter was spirited away and hidden in a white oak tree.
The Charter Oak is the symbol of resistance to tyranny and the abuse shown toward the Colonies by certain kings of the British Crown. The USA still stands against tyranny from the outside.
The Charter Oak stood proud for another century and a half before succumbing to the winds of a mighty storm. While the strength of the oak does not outlast the flexibility of the willow in the wind, the strength of our stand against outside tyranny remains steadfast. As one man stated it:
Give me Liberty or give me death! - Patrick Henry
The McDonald's Big Mac
Capitalism and Obesity
The Big Mac from McDonalds® is a symbol of America, although we would likely never put it on our national flag. Since the American Medical Association decided in June 2013 that obesity is a disease, many people claim that obesity is the symptom and McDonalds® is the disease.
The Economist magazine has employed the image of the Big Mac a reference for comparing the cost of living in different nations of the world. They call it the Big Mac Index.
The Bald Eagle - A Forgotten Story
Bald Eagle Back From the Dead
Do you know how an American Bald Eagle becomes rejuvenated?
America has been recognized by several iconic symbols, but many have fallen into disuse or non-remembrance. The American Creed is rarely seen or hear, the Charter Oak is used for a bank name, and the rules for displaying the George Washington Rose are known to but a few people. Over a dozen symbols for the USA exist and this Hub will discuss each one.
In a conference I attended recently, participants were instructed about the life cycle of the American Bald Eagle.
An old bald eagle may lose some of his plumage, suffer a fractured beak, and experience broken or lost talons. His eyesight might grow dim.
But this does not always mean death to the Bald Eagle.
In the American West, Old Eagle flies to the top of a mountain.He stands on the mountaintop, staring into the sun, sometimes for several days. The last of his broken, thin plumage falls out, his beak falls off, his remaining talons fall away and he stares on.
He stares, taking in the lilght and warmth. He is inside a cocoon of energy. Eventually, a new beak forms and new talons sprout from his toes. New feathers growing in and he is no longer old. His wing is strong and his eye is clear.
He flies away in strength and vitality.
America is the land of the second chance, and a third and fourth. America has undergone attack from without and within for over two century. The USA is still standing. The right of the people to vote can rejuvenate her.
The George Washington Rose
During the 1789 Inauguration Parade of President George Washington, women marched long while wearing rose-wreaths on their heads, They tossed rose petals before the horses and carriages in the parade before Washington passed by on the streets. Later, the President cultivated his own rose. A quilt commemorating that Inaugural Parade was sewn in the traditional Rose Wreath Pattern.
The President's Rose was prolific in the 1700s, but was nearly destroyed in the 20th Century by roadside spraying done to prevent weeds. This occurred because the George Washington Rose grew by the roadsides. Fortunately, however, some specimens of this old rose are still growing at the Cherry Valley Historical Association in New York.
The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 159, designated the George Washington Rose as the National Floral Emblem of the United States.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the rose as the National Floral emblem of the United States of America (November 20, 1986).
John Phillip Sousa, The March King
John Philip Sousa (1854 - 1932); The March King
In the 19th and 20th centuries, John Philip Sousa was a recognized symbol of America, well-known for his dozens of patriotic, military, and celebration marches.
This was especially true of The Stars and Stripes Forever March, America's National March by U.S. Code, Title 36, Section 304. It represents the steadfastness of the country in pursuing freedom. Hear the march and see the Lyrics Sousa wrote, along with a Fred Allen Parody found at Sousa Stories.
Sousa was a youth during the Civil War and saw the heavy losses on both sides. He saw the forced march west of Native Americans. He saw the freedom of the slaves, but he saw the discrimination as well. He saw voting rights awarded to all adults in America, and he saw the Great Depression.
Out of American History, John Philip Sousa composed these marches among the dozens in his bibliography:
- America First
- BoyScouts of America
- The Charlatan
- The Crusader
- Hail to the Spirit of Liberty
- Hands Across the Sea
- The Invincible Eagle
- Magna Charta
- The Lion Tamer
- Sabers and Spurs
- Universal Peace
- The White Rose
- The Washington Post March
The Cowboy Hat
The Cowboy Hat and the Oil Well
The cowboy hat has often symbolized the United States frequently, often paired with an oil well.
In Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies, the American representatives often dress in matching Cowboy hats and related gear.
The Monopoly Man - Big Business
Monopoly and Capitalism
The game of Monopoly was originally called Rich Uncle and is based on forming a business monopoly (illegal in the USA) by acquiring all the money held by other players as a result of purchasing and holding the majority of business entities, including residences, stores, hotels, etc. (holding a monopoly).
Actually not very flattering in its use at times, the Monopoly Man (officially named by the Hasbro Toy Company in 1998) has represented America in its Capitalism in certain regions of the globe.
As a child, I hated the board game. Monopoly is not the greatest thing in games or economics.
The Soup Line
Images of 1930s Poverty
In the 1930s, the Soup Line often symbolized the United States as hundreds of thousands of people wandered across the country in search of jobs, food, and shelter.
Employment offices were overrun with applicants, all competing for work. Tent camps went up to house families, but some parents had to sell the tent in order to buy food for their children.
By the end of of the Great Depression in 1939, at least 4,000,000 people were still drifting, working seasonal migrant jobs when they could get them.
The Flag With 24 Stars
Old Glory is not the original 13-starred flag of the new nation, nor the 50-star flag of the 20th century past.
Old Glory is the 24-star flag that was gifted to Captain William Driver in Massachusetts on his 21st birthday. That birthday was in 1831 that he received the hand-sewn silk flag and he named it Old Glory.
Since 1831, the flag has gained 26 additional stars and the Pledge of Allegiance gained two additional words and was these banned from public schools. In 1969, Mr. Red Skelton reenacted the speech that his elementary school teacher gave his class many years before. I was lucky enough to hear it myself:
Except from The Red Skelton Show, January 14th 1969:
"Mr. Lasswell told his class: "I've been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it's become monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of the word?"
I - Me, an individual; a committee of one.
Pledge - Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.
Allegiance - My love and my devotion.
To the Flag - Our standard; Old Glory; a symbol of Freedom; wherever she waves there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts, Freedom is everybody's job.
United - That means that we have all come together.
States - Individual communities that have united into forty-eight great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that is love for country.
And to the Republic - Republic, a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people; and it's from the people to the leaders, not the leaders to the people.
For which it stands
One Nation - One Nation, meaning so blessed by God.
Indivisible - Incapable of being divided.
With Liberty - Which is Freedom; the right of power to live one's own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.
And Justice - The principle, or qualities of dealing fairly with others.
For All - For All; which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.
And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite the Pledge of Allegiance:
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands; one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Since I was a small boy, two state have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: Under God. Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer, and that would be eliminated from schools, too?
[And so it was.]
Red Skelton's Pledge
DisneylandClick thumbnail to view full-size
In some regions of the world, when you mention United States, the response is Disneyland, Disney World, or another of the many parks owned by the Mickey Mouse entertainment conglomerate. This response can be either good or bad: Fun and adventure or opulence and waste?
Amusement parks and entertainment are an American way of life. Some nations wonder why there is such a lack of work or important things to do to the extent that Americans need entertainment to fill their time. Other nations enjoy it. Others laugh at us.
The Great Seal of the United States of America
While this is not a forgotten symbol, not all of us remembers what each part of it means. Interestingly, the number 13 is used over and over:
The pattern of 13 in the US Great Seal is used as a tribute of remembrance to honor the first 13 Colonies and 13 new States in the new nation, America. This includes:
- 13 Stars in the Crest above the eagle
- 13 Stripes in the Shield upon the eagle's breast
- 13 Arrows in the eagle's left claw
- 13 Olives and Leaves in the eagles' right claw
- 13 Letters in the motto carried by the eagle, E Pluribus Unum
The original 13 Colonies are:
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
The seal's reverse side (the back side) is also known as the Spiritual Side of the Great Seal. It shows 13-Step Pyramid with the year 1776 in Roman Numerals. At the top of the pyramid is the Eye of Providence and running over it is our motto, Annuit Coeptis. The motto translates as "The Eye of Providence (It or He) is favorable to our undertakings." Beneath the pyramid there is a scroll inscribed with Novus Ordo Seclorum or New Order of the Ages, meaning 1776 to usher in the new age of America.
The Great Seal, on the US dollar bill, comes under the authority of The Secretary of State It is only affixed to limited documents like treaties and Presidential Proclamations. The Great Seal is on display at the Exhibit Hall of the US Department of State in Washington, DC
© 2008 Patty Inglish