What is the The Great Seal Of The United States and what does it mean and why did these particular elements form the icon of the United States? These questions and the time, resources are insight into how such an important part of United States history was created at the founding of our country and how ideas and icons were developed to tell a message of the USA.
What Are The Two Sides To the Great Seal Of The United States?
The Great Seal of the United States is used to authenticate and confirm the authenticity of certain documents issued by the U.S. federal government. The phrase “Great Seal Of the United States” is used both for the physical seal itself (which is kept by the U.S. Secretary of State), and more generally for the design and image upon it. The Great Seal was first used publicly in 1782.
The obverse or reverse side of the of the Great Seal is used as the national Coat Of Arms of the United States. It is officially used on documents such as United States passports, military insignia, embassy placards, and various flags. As a coat of arms, the design has official colors; the physical Great Seal itself, as affixed to paper, is monochrome.
What Is The Symbolism Behind The Great Seal Of The United States?
The design on the obverse (or front) of the seal is the coat of arms of the United States. The American shield, often thought of whenever the American Bald Eagle is seen, frequently drawn incorrectly, has two primary differences from the USA flag. First, it has no stars on the blue chief (though other arms based on often do: the chief of the arms of the United States Senate often shows 13 or even 50, and the shield of the 9/11 Commission has, sometimes, 50 mullets on the chief). Second, unlike the American flag, the outermost stripes are white, not red; so as not to violate the heraldicrule of tincture. Often overlooked this still stands as a significant different between the two
The supporter of the shield is a bald eagle with its wings outstretched (or “displayed”, in heraldic terms). From the eagle’s perspective, it holds a bundle of 13 arrows in its left talon (referring to the 13 original American states), and an olive branch in its right talon, together symbolizing that the United States has “a strong desire for peace, but will always be ready for war.”. Although not specified by law, the olive branch is usually depicted with 13 leaves and 13 olives, again representing the 13 original states. The eagle has its head turned towards the olive branch, on its right side, said to symbolize a preference for peace. In the Eagle’s beak, the eagle clutches a scroll with the motto E pluribus unum(“Out of Many, One”). This Latin term is the motto for the United States and clearly signifies the unification of the United States and its desire for independence from Britain.
Over the Eagle’s head there appears a “glory” with 13 mullets (stars) on a blue field. In the current (and several previous) dies of the great seal, the 13 stars above the eagle are arranged in rows of 1-4-3-4-1, forming a six-pointed star.
It Happened in 1782!
The 1782 resolution of Congress adopting the arms, still in force, legally blazoned the shield as “Paleways of 13 pieces, argent and gules; a chief, azure.” As the designers recognized, this is a technically incorrect blazon under traditional English heraldic rules, since in English practice a vertically striped shield would be described as “paly”, not “paleways”, and it would not have had an odd number of stripes. A more technically proper blazon would have been argent, six pallets gules… (six red stripes on a white field), but the phrase used was chosen to preserve the reference to the 13 original states.
The Coat Of Arms Of the United States and What Does It Mean? It’s a Pyramid!
The 1782 Congress resolution adopting the seal blazons the image on the reverse as “A pyramid unfinished. In the zenith an eye in a triangle, the all seeing eye, surrounded by a glory, proper.” The pyramid is conventionally shown as consisting of 13 layers (or stacks as it is built from its base to its pinnacle) to refer to the 13 original states. The adopting resolution provides that it is inscribed on its base with the date MDCCLXXVI (1776, the year of the United States Declaration of Independence) in Roman numerals. Where the top of the pyramid should be, the Eye of Providence watches over it. Two mottos appear: Annuit cœptis signifies that Providence has “approved of (our) undertakings.”Novus ordo seclorum, freely taken from Virgil, is Latin for “a new order of the ages.” The reverse has never been cut (as a seal) but appears, for example, on the back of the one-dollar bill where it is most commonly seen.
The primary official explanation of the symbolism of the great seal was given by Charles Thomson upon presenting the final design for adoption by Congress. He wrote:
The Escutcheon is composed of the chief & pale, the two most honorable ordinaries. The Pieces, paly, represent the several states all joined in one solid compact entire, supporting a Chief, which unites the whole & represents Congress. The Motto alludes to this union. The pales in the arms are kept closely united by the chief and the Chief depends upon that union & the strength resulting from it for its support, to denote the Confederacy of the United States of America & the preservation of their union through Congress.
The colours of the pales are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue, the colour of the Chief signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice. The Olive branch and arrows denote the power of peace & war which is exclusively vested in Congress. The Constellation denotes a new State taking its place and rank among other sovereign powers. The Escutcheon is born on the breast of an American Eagle without any other supporters to denote that the United States of America ought to rely on their own Virtue.
Reverse. The pyramid signifies Strength and Duration: The Eye over it & the Motto allude to the many signal interpositions of providence in favour of the American cause. The date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence and the words under it signify the beginning of the new American Æra, which commences from that date. (Source – Charles Thomson)
Symbolism of items numbering thirteen.
Thirteen is the central number that is found throughout the Great Seal Of the United States as well as the USA Coast Of Arms. The official description of the seal states that there should be thirteen stars in the “glory” above the eagle’s head, thirteen stripes on the shield, and thirteen arrows in the eagle’s talon. The initial description of the reverse specified thirteen levels to the pyramid, and though the number was left out of the final version, all depictions typically still show thirteen levels. Also by custom, since 1885 there are thirteen leaves and thirteen olives on the olive branch. The fact that there are thirteen letters in two of the mottos (“e pluribus unum” and “annuit cœptis”) seems to be coincidental (and depends on whether one considers the ligature “œ” to be one letter or two).
These are the only preliminary drawings
of the final design for the Great Seal:
Sketches by Charles Thomson (June 1782) and William Barton (May 1782)
After these were drawn, a few revisions were made:
• The Eagle’s shield was given vertical red & white stripes.
• New Latin mottoes were chosen for the pyramid side.
• A triangle was placed around the eye of providence.
• MDCCLXXVI (1776) was placed beneath the pyramid.
But no new drawings were made. No artwork was submitted to nor approved by Congress.
Illustrations of a seal are called “realizations.”
Here are the U.S. Department of State’s current realizations:
(Source – Great Seal Overview)
The rich symbology, its connection with the 13 original American States, its desire for independence constructed at a time when the country was new, has made the Great Seal Of the United States one of the most important images of the United States. The Great Seal of the United States, its reverse side, its Coat Of Arms, is incredible insight into what has made America great, solid, unified and a country who preserves its freedoms and helps other countries to maintain theirs. These icons of American history continues to be preserved and reproduced whether on challenge coins like the ones displayed below or in some other form.
When it comes to challenge coins for the different branches of the United States Military one needs to experience Military Challenge Coins at Their Finest! This isn’t just a statement thrown out there and hope it sticks to whatever it grabs onto. It has to mean something because the challenge coin represents a military unit, its military Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen. It means the US military and furthermore it means America and its military history and heritage.
In the service to the US military a coin must raise to the expectation of its military and its Veterans. It has to be detailed, convey a unique message in both written but also graphic form and it must be produced to the level of quality that the US military demands. This does not mean a cheap 2 dimension coin that some garage shop throws together (and there are plenty of them out there) but must be designed and thought through. It can’t be cheap because that sets the expectations of something that is produced with less professionalism than it deserves.
The coin design an craftsmanship of Vision-Strike-Coins and Vision-Strike-Wear.Com surpasses the fly-by-night garage operation that really must go. It sets the bar at a level attainable for those with the commitment of designing and producing only the finest in military challenge coins.
Some military coins can and do make a difference when it comes to heritage, history, a way of life for so many for so many years and preserving that memory in a challenge coin shadowbox or part of a military coin collections is often what people do.
This Army 75th Ranger coin “Leads The Way” is one example of the type of coin that Army Rangers collect and hold onto for years to come often beyond their years while in service. Asked to produce this Army Ranger coin it was both an honor and a pleasure to do so.
A SERE coin for those that went through this hellish course and lived to never talk about it. A purple unit designed to give our men and women of the military a fighting chance should they be caught while fighting the enemy. One side with blindfold representing the captured soldier and the reverse with blindfold removed representing the escape and the culmination of what SERE training represents.
Side A represents the captured state of the SERE trainee while Side B (displayed below) illustrates the one eye open and escape which is at the heart of SERE training.
Some of the newest coins to hit the line have arrived at Vision-Strike-Wear.Com beginning with the recent introduction of the Naval Intelligence coin with motto IN God We Trust All Others We Monitor a long standing tradition within the naval intel community.
The United States Army has had a long and courageous history of defending America, bringing highly trained Soldiers and equipment to distant parts of the world. The US Army has deployed some of the fiercest Divisions to places all over the world to help remove dictators and establish peace wherever they have been asked to deploy. Three such US Army Divisions, the 1st Armored Division (Old Ironsides), the 2nd Armored Division (Hell On Wheels) and the US Army 3rd Armored Division (Spearhead) are such Divisions. In honor of their upcoming birthday, July 15th, these highly awarded and honored Armored Divisions have had some of the finest Army Armor Division coins produced in their honor.
Each of these tough and highly detailed US Army Armored Division coins features the intense look of a tanker with helmet, boom stick, rounds of ammo, crossed tank shells and the infamous Death Before Dismount associated with US Army armor.
US Navy Rate Challenge Coins
Why not a military bottle opener?
When the US navy inquired with Vision-Strike-wear.Com they did so because they knew they wanted the kind of detail and craftsmanship that VSW delivers. The US Navy Jolly Roger bottle opener was a perfect example of the detailed work that VSW puts into each of its bottle openers and military challenge coins.
A perfect example of the kind of quality in both design and craftsmanship when it comes to a US Navy Rate coin is this Information Systems Technician Coin built for the IS Rate and those USN Sailors that are proud to hold this rate.
USMC Drill Instructor coin? You bet. MOS 8511 Salty Edition. At the request of the saltier US Marine Drill Instructors it ws an honor to produce this USMC challenge coin in such a way that the the MOS 8511 was displayed as it should be along with the EGA smokey the bear, skull and teeth bared. This highly decorative and detailed coin was produced with the most attention to detail and professionalism and it was an honor for us to produce them.
2017 marks the anniversary of military working dogs. These dogs have gone to war since 1941 in virtually every branch of the US Military. Some have made it home while many have not leaving heir partners just as grieved as any soldier lost in combat. For those that have been reunited it is one of the happiest moments of both of their lives as old soldiers see each other again having been separated by great distances. This is a coin personally created for them and out of respect for the, The K- teams of the US military are honored with this K-9 75th Anniversary Magnum Coin!
Semper Paratus! The US Coast Guard has an awesome responsibility patrolling, guarding and enforcing the oceans off the US Coast line, its waterways and its harbors. The USCG has a long and very proud tradition and it is in this vein that we created this USCG Never Retired Semper Paratus coin for them.
Small Arms Repairer MOS 2111 Coin Unleashed At Vision-Strike-Wear.Com Today
USMC MOS Coins Bark At The Competition because of their bad ass tendencies and nature! The USMC is the best and they deserve the best and whether its an 0311 Grunt, a USMC Drill Instructor, Machine Gunner, Scout Sniper, United States Marine Recruiter, Combat Engineer, Artilleryman, Mortarman Infantry Assaultman and Small Arms Repairman the jobs of the USMC are built on teamwork, pride and the the overriding desire to be the best. They have the warrior spirit embedded in each US Marine and their drive and demanding of the best in others and especially of themselves is why they succeed in all things.
Keeping weapons up to date and fully repaired is a key job in any branch of the military, and in the Marines, a big part of this responsibility falls to the small arms repairer/technician. It’s an enlisted job with some specific requirements to be eligible.
The general military definition of small arms, which are somewhat different than light weapons, refers to those weapons that can be used by a single person.
They include handguns, light automatic weapons (which include some machine guns), portable rocket launchers, rifle- and shoulder-fired grenade launchers and other shoulder-fired weapons. For the most part, small arms are considered portable, and can be fired without a tripod or special mount. They may be used in civil disturbances as well as combat, and can be stolen more easily than light or heavy arms.
The job ofsmall arms repairer/technician in the grade of Private through Lance Corporal, involves small arms maintenance and repair, inspection procedures, and armory procedures. He or she performs inspections of all small arms, with the exception of vehicular mounted weapons. The small arms repairer/technician also completes basic shop administrative forms and records.
At the Corporal through Gunnery Sergeant level the small arms repairer/technician performs, trains, and supervises inspection, maintenance, and repair of all small arms, to include vehicular mounted small arms. (Source – The Balance.Com)
Challenge Coin Racks and Supporting Veteran Owned Businesses is at the heart of what Vision-Strike-Wear.Com is all about. It is. It has to be. When American military service people spend time making sacrifices while in the United States Military they do it when they are away from their families, when they are called to the battlefield, when they endure hardship in the form of any number of difficult tasks or demands placed upon them. They take it, they follow orders and they get the job done because there is no second place awards for failure.
As such whenever vetrepreneurial minds get together it often produces some amazing thing. Hobbies become businesses, businesses flourish and become even larger businesses which can in turn support military families across the world. As a small veteran owned and operated business, Vision-Strike-Wear.Com started very much in the same way. They were given many boosts up, helped and shoved in the right direction. Mistakes for sure were made but they learned from it and surpassed these obstacles. They remember the earlier days when this happened. This is why they want to help other business minded veterans when they start a new business, have an outlet from PTSD, or maybe just another source of revenue to help support their families. They take what they know, their skills and their interests and they craft something truly amazing.
That is why at VSW we have always been a huge fan of our military brothers and sisters and when we get a tap on the shoulder asking for help whether in the form of advice or to help with the display or offering of a veteran made product we step in and help.
Recently a US Air Force Veteran whose has made it his mission to produce some amazing challenge coin rack holders got a hold of Vision-Strike-Wear.Com and sent in images of his Cherry and Walnut wood made coin racks. The partners were extremely impressed with their craftsmanship and when discussed it was decided this needed to be made available to the marketplace.
Without hesitating these wonderfully and highly professional looking challenge coin holders seen at Military Challenge Coin Racks display with pride the type of quality only found with a Veteran made 100% Made in America product of this type.
American Veteran Made
13.5” wide x 6” deep with a 5” rise
Rows are 5/16” Wide
Hold approximately 30 coins
You have been in the military for a number of years and on more than one occasions have earned or been given a military challenge coins. Especially as you move from unit to unit, command to command or ship to ship you accumulate challenge coins and they travel as you do and also form a memory of their own displaying many of the career paths you took while in the military. These are your memories and each challenge coin serves as a reminder of your experiences so they deserve to be placed on a challenge e coin rack that is equal to the task of preserving those memories.
The military saw a pay raise that matched the rise in private sector wages for the first time in six years and many feel that Trump is the one to thank for that. Prior to the election Obama and congress seemed to be in a deadlock about how much of a raise the military would receive in 2017. Congress wanted to give the troops a raise that matched the projected growth in private sector wages, while President Obama had proposed a budget reducing the raise to 1.6% or a half a percent behind private sector wage growth. This has been his strategy as a way to save on the budget for some time and many veterans and veteran groups have been upset with the Commander and Chief trying to save money on the backs of the US men and women in uniform who are readily sent into harm’s way.
The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act submitted by the Obama administration also called for cutting 20k troops from the active duty Army alone. However after the election this was removed from the act and troop levels are to be maintained at their 2016 levels. One might presume that there actually may be a buildup in troops during the Trump administration.
President Trump has touted his support of the United States Armed Forces and its veterans throughout his entire campaign. He has made the terrible state of Veterans Affairs a focal point while gaining the support of veterans across the country. If you follow the link below he can even be seen giving a job interview to a veteran who questioned him during a press conference. He calls the woman up to the podium and gives her an on the spot interview after the woman asked if Trump Towers would be part of the Veteran hiring initiative. Needless to say I think he got that veterans support when she went to the polls on Election Day.
Pair all of this with the fact that President Trump selected one of the most respected Marine Corps generals in history as his Secretary of Defense and it sounds like this administration may be a major shift from the previous administration that saw the reducing of troop levels, buying power eroded, education benefits cut, and a crumbling of the VA system.
Even if President Trump is completely hands off from this day forward the Department of Defense can still look to General Mattis as the Secretary of Defense and feel a sense of security in an organization that can only be described as the largest band of brothers you could ever assemble. The military and its veterans are a family through thick and thin. We may have our fights, we may joke around with each other, we may even knock each other around but that’s ok because we are family. If anyone outside the family were to do it we would end their world. I for one am starting to feel very secure with the direction that that family will be heading in for the next 4 years.
If you’re a veteran of the Gulf War than I am sure that you are familiar with Desert Storm the operation that essentially ended the War in the Persian Gulf in the early 90’s. For those of you that are not familiar this will be a quick history lesson along with a reminder of what the greatest fighting force in the free world can do when they are unleashed and unchained by politics and bureaucracy.
The first thing that you have to realize is that the Iraqi Army was not some small force that any nation could have just pummeled in the blink of an eye. In the 80’s the United States had offered a sizable amount of funding to Iraq during its conflict with Iran. This was due to the theory that the enemy of my enemy is my ally (in loose terms of course). So at the point in time when Saddam Hussein had decided to invade Kuwait and take over their oil fields Iraq had the 4th largest army in the world. A force that could contend with if not dominate most forces in the world at the time. Iraq was also a traditional ally of the former Soviet Union, which could present issues of its own.
Neither of these things mattered in the long run as the US and its allies proved to be too much for the Iraqi Army in a very quick manner. This war made General Norman Schwarzkopf and General Colin Powell the most famous military figures in over 2 decades.
The US gave Saddam until January 15th of 1991 to retreat from occupied Kuwait after President George W. Bush let the world know that the actions of Iraq “would not stand”. Of course we know from history that January 15th came and went and Iraq continued to occupy Kuwait, calling the bluff of the United States and its allies. The problem for Iraq was the United States had no intention of bluffing. I mean seriously if you are holding a royal flush (the US military) would you need to bluff? So the United States began to bomb Iraqi military targets for 5 consecutive weeks.
Iraq attempted to counter these strikes by launching Scud missiles at US targets in Saudi Arabia, and US allies in Israel. The attacks had limited effect, of the over 80 missiles launched only 1 hit a significant military target in Saudi Arabia. However, it did force the US to deal with the problem by hunting down and destroying these launchers which delayed the US ground attack for 1 week. In the end the American military did what it has always done, went into the country and knocked the opposition backwards in a singe week of ground fighting.
If you or someone you know is a veteran of the war, or just someone who loves the history of our great military, simply click on the image below to see some of the great designs and commemorate this event in US Military History.