The national symbols of a country reflects its unique identity through various forms such as the national flag, anthem, animal, sport, and many other things. This ScienceStruck article gives a list of all the national symbols of the United States of America.
Did You Know?
The U.S. Flag code says that the national flag is not to be displayed during extreme weather conditions, unless the flag is an all-weather flag.
National symbols largely represent a country’s history, heritage, culture, and government. These symbols play a significant role in bringing together a country as a whole by reminding its people of their nation’s principles and history. For instance, the national flag inspires a feel of honor for the country and its people. Similarly, the national bird, animal, tree, or fruit signifies the rich and diverse flora and fauna of the nation’s geographical region. Here is a list of the national symbols of one of the world’s oldest democracies, the United States of America.
1. National Flag: Stars and Stripes
The national flag of the United States of America has fifty stars (representing 50 states) on the background of blue and 13 stripes (representing 13 colonies that rebelled against British rule and became the first states of the Union) in red and white. The flag was originally ordered to be made during the preparations for the Battle of Baltimore. It was 42 feet in length and 30 feet in height, with 15 stars and 15 stripes as there were 15 states in the union in 1812. The stars on this flag were a little tilted to the left and right, but the national flag today has all stars pointing at the top of the flag. The colors of the flag in the Pantone system are Blue PMS 282 and Red PMS 193.
2. National Bird: Bald Eagle
A large brown bird, with white head and a sharp pointing beak is the Bald eagle. It was adopted as the national bird of the country for its association with the calibers of authority, strength, beauty, long life, and as an apt symbol of governmental power. It is both the national animal and the national bird of the United States. Its high flight in the sky symbolizes the might and power of the nation. It appears on the nation’s emblem.
3. National Flower: Rose
This was declared to be the national flower in a ceremony held at the White House Rose Garden. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan’s signing of a resolution gave it the status officially.
4. National Tree: Oak (Quercus)
In late 2004, after the President signed the historic bill passed by the Congress, the Oak tree was officially recognized as the national tree of the United States. The Oak tree was selected as the people’s choice over a four-month-long open voting process hosted by the Arbor Day Foundation. Over 60 species of the tree grow in different parts of the country.
5. National Emblem: Great Seal of the USA
Three drafters (Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams, and Mr. Jefferson) of the Declaration of Independence, in 1776, were made into a committee to create a Seal for the United States of America. They needed an emblem and a coat of arms to display the sovereignty and freedom of people of the United States. After six years and two more committees, the Great Seal of the United States was finalized on June 20th, 1782.
There is a shield on the chest of the Eagle without any support, symbolizing the country to rely on its own virtue. The shield is with stripes of white and red (representing states) taken from the colors of the national flag. White signifies purity and innocence, red indicates hardiness and valor, and blue color of the Chief signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice. The olive branch and a bunch of arrows denote the power of peace and war respectively. The reverse side of the seal has a 13-step pyramid, which is also considered to be the spiritual side of the seal.
6. National Motto: In God, We Trust
“In God, we trust” was adopted to be the motto of the United States in 1952 by a joint resolution of the Congress. It replaced the common but unofficial motto of ‘E pluribus unum’ (Latin for ‘one out of many’) that is inscribed on the great seal. It appeared on the country’s coins in 1864. The motto was printed on paper currency (one-dollar note) in 1957. It is also the motto of the Republic of Nicaragua and the American state of Florida.
7. National Sport: Baseball
Baseball is known as the national pastime of the United States. Americans feel it to be a part of their culture. It was the predominant sport played by the young before the game of football was established and became popular. It was in the late 19th century, when baseball came to be recognized as the national sport. It is also a national sport of Cuba and Dominican Republic.
8. National Monument: Statue of Liberty
The formal title of the statue is ‘Liberty enlightening the world’. It is a gift of friendship given by France in 1886, to commemorate 100 years of independence of the United States. The statue of liberty located in New York Harbor, depicts the Roman goddess of Freedom. The value of liberty is expressed through the broken chain lying at the feet of the goddess. In one hand she holds a torch, which symbolizes enlightenment. The tablet held in the other hand symbolizes law; it has the date of declaration of independence inscribed on it.
9. Symbol of Freedom: Liberty Bell
The liberty bell is regarded as the international symbol of freedom witnessing the Independence Hall, Philadelphia. It weighs around 2000 pounds and is made of copper and tin. The bell had rung in 1774 to announce the opening of the First Continental Congress, and in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed. It called upon the citizens of Philadelphia for reading the Declaration of Independence. The following words inscribed on it give the message of liberty:
“Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof…”
10. Symbol of Government: Uncle Sam
“Uncle Sam” symbolizes the U.S Government. His image first appeared during the war of 1812. He is portrayed as an old, bearded man wearing a top hat, and his clothes resemble the national flag. Uncle Sam’s caricature is seen to be used in many political cartoons and advertising.
The postage stamp above shows the identity of Uncle Sam used for recruiting soldiers in the U.S. Army during World War I. From there, came the famous line “I want you.”.
The National anthem; The “star-spangled banner”, written by Francis Scott Key is composed by John Stafford Smith. He wrote it after the valorous defense of the Fort McHenry by American forces during the British attack of 1814. The Pledge of Allegiance was authored by Francis Bellamy in 1892. These glorify the national pride and mark historical significance of the American dream of independent state.
United States does not have a national fruit unlike all its states. Delicacies like the apple pie and traditional roasted turkey prepared on Thanksgiving Day also symbolize the American culture.