American symbols

Countries use symbols to express their ideals. What is more American than these symbols?

Old Glory

Betsy Ross is credited with sewing the first US flag. At the time the flag's colors did not have a specific meaning but the colors were significant for the Great Seal of 1782. White signifies purity and innocence, red for valor and bravery and blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice. The stars are considered a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial and the stripes are symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun. More about the flag.

Enlightening the world : the creation of the Statue of Liberty
Yasmin Sabina Khan.
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2010.
Conceived in the aftermath of the American Civil War and the grief that swept France over the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the Statue of Liberty has been a potent symbol of the nation's highest ideals since it was unveiled in 1886. Dramatically situated on Bedloe's Island (now Liberty Island) in the harbor of New York City, the statue has served as a reminder for generations of immigrants of America's long tradition as an asylum for the poor and the persecuted. Although it is among the most famous sculptures in the world, the story of its creation is little known.In Enlightening the World, Yasmin Sabina Khan provides a fascinating new account of the design of the statue and the lives of the people who created it, along with the tumultuous events in France and the United States that influenced them. Khan's narrative begins on the battlefields of Gettysburg, where Lincoln framed the Civil War as a conflict testing whether a nation "conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal . . . can long endure." People around the world agreed with Lincoln that this question-and the fate of the Union itself-affected the "whole family of man." Inspired by the Union's victory and stunned by Lincoln's death, Eacute;douard-Reneacute; Lefebvre de Laboulaye, a legal scholar and noted proponent of friendship between his native France and the United States, conceived of a monument to liberty and the exemplary form of government established by the young nation. For Laboulaye and all of France, the statue would be called La Liberteacute; Eacute;clairant le Monde-Liberty Enlightening the World.Following the statue's twenty-year journey from concept to construction, Khan reveals in brilliant detail the intersecting lives that led to the realization of Laboulaye's dream: the Marquis de Lafayette; Alexis de Tocqueville; the sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, whose commitment to liberty and self-government was heightened by his experience of the Franco-Prussian War; the architect Richard Morris Hunt, the first American to study architecture at the prestigious Eacute;cole des Beaux-Arts in Paris; and the engineer Gustave Eiffel, who pushed the limits for large-scale metal construction. Also here are the contributions of such figures as Senators Charles Sumner and Carl Schurz, the artist John La Farge, the poet Emma Lazarus, and the publisher Joseph Pulitzer. While exploring the creation of the statue, Khan points to possible sources-several previously unexamined-for the design. She links the statue's crown of rays with Benjamin Franklin's image of the rising sun and makes a clear connection between the broken chain under Lady Liberty's foot and the abolition of slavery. Through the rich story of this remarkable national monument, Enlightening the World celebrates both a work of human accomplishment and the vitality of liberty.

More US Symbols

Anthem: The Star Spangled Banner

March: The Stars and Stripes Forever

Motto: In God We Trust

Tree: Oak

Mammal: Bison

The Statue of Liberty was a gift of international friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is one of the most universal symbols of political freedom and democracy. Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi discovered the perfect site in the New York Harbor saying, "...where all the ships of the universe arrive, she will rise from the bossom of the waves..." The Statue of Liberty stands tall in the harbor with a radiant crown whose seven points represent the seven continents and seven seas. She is holding the beacon of Enlightenment and a tablet inscribed JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4th, 1776).

An eagle named Freedom : my true story of a remarkable friendship
Jeff Guidry.
[Old Saybrook, Conn.] : Tantor Audio, p2010.
With the emotional intensity of A Lion Named Christian and the charm of Alex & Me, this is the inspiring story of a dedicated man who lovingly nursed a young eaglet with two broken wings back to health---and how this majestic bird later inspired him to triumph over his own life-threatening condition.

The bald eagle was chosen June 20, 1782 as the emblem of the United States of America, because of its long life, great strength and majestic looks, and also because it was then believed to exist only on this continent. This majestic bird represents power and freedom.

The Rose, queen of flowers, is suited to all kinds of landscaping needs used in parks and home gardens. Roses have been grown on the Whitehouse grounds since John Adams planted some in what is now know as the Rose Garden. On November 20, 1986, President Reagan signed Proclamation 5574: The National Floral Emblem of the United States of America: The Rose. More about roses.

National treasure : Book of secrets
Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films present a Junction Entertainment production in association with Saturn Films ; produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Jon Turteltaub ; story by Gregory Poirier and the Wibberleys & Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio ; screenplay by the Wibberleys ; directed by Jon Turteltaub.
Burbank, Calif. : Buena Vista Home Entertainment, [2008]
  1. DVD, widescreen.
  2. In English with optional French or Spanish dubbing and optional French or Spanish subtitles; closed-captioned in English.
  3. Cast: Nicolas Cage, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Ed Harris, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Bruce Greenwood, Helen Mirren, Michael Maize, Timothy Murphy, Armando Riesco, Albert Hall, Ty Burrell.
  4. Videodisc release of the c2007 motion picture.
  5. MPAA rating: PG; some violence and action.
  6. When a missing page from the diary of John Wilkes Booth surfaces, Ben Gates' great-great grandfather is implicated as a conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The effort to find the rest of the missing pages to clear his ancestor's name takes Ben, Abigail, and Riley on a globe-trotting adventure.

Mount Rushmore sits high on a granite cliff in South Dakota's Black Hills tower the huge carved faces of four American presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Each was chosen to commemorate his unique contribution to building and shaping the country. Together they constitute the world's largest piece of sculpture.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff