The United States dollar has been very much in the news lately; mostly for all the wrong reasons. Someone said the one dollar bill is very religious; at least it comes to church more than the other denominations!
Our presently designed one dollar bill first came off the presses in 1957. This so-called paper money is in fact a cotton and linen blend, with minuscule red and blue silk fibers running through it. Actually, it is from material and not “paper” at all. We’ve all washed it (not laundered it – although some might have tried that too) without its falling apart.
A special blend of ink is used, the recipe for which we should never know. It is overprinted with symbols, starched to make it water resistant, and pressed to give it that nice crisp look.
The images on the front of the bill (the black side) are fairly easy to figure out; but you’re going to have to forget some of the stuff portrayed in the film, “National Treasure” and other Hollywood offerings. The United States Treasury Seal is portrayed in green on the right side. On the top you will see the scales for a balanced budget (remember those?); in the center you have a carpenter’s square, a tool used for an even cut; and underneath is the key to the United States Treasury. And then, there’s the well known picture of President Washington.
The images on the back (the green side) are things we need to know.
Those two circles, taken together, comprise the Great Seal of the United States; which was commissioned by the First Continental Congress. It took Benjamin Franklin and his group four years to design this seal and two years to get it approved (and we thought Iraq was dragging their feet because they couldn’t get their constitution approved overnight).
The left circle features a pyramid, with the face illuminated and the western side in the dark. This symbolizes that our country was just beginning; we had not begun to explore the West or decided what we could do for Western Civilization.
The unfinished top of the pyramid represents that we were not even close to being finished; but inside the capstone the all-seeing eye can be seen. This symbol is an ancient representation for Divinity. It was Franklin’s belief that one man couldn’t do it alone, but a group of men, with the help of God, could do anything.
The motto, “IN GOD WE TRUST” is on this currency. The Latin above the pyramid, “ANNUIT COEPTIS”, means, “God has favored our undertaking”, and the Latin below the pyramid, “NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM”, means, “a new order has begun”. The Roman numeral “MDCCLXXVI” at the pyramid’s base is the year 1776.
The circle on the right is on every National Cemetery in the United States and is the centerpiece of the monuments of most of America’s heroes. Slightly modified, it is the seal of the President of the United States, and it is always visible whenever he speaks.
Very few people know what the symbols mean. The bald eagle was selected as a symbol for victory because, first, he is strong and not afraid of a storm because God has given him wisdom enough to soar above it; and, secondly, he wears no material crown. Remember, we had just broken ties from the King of England.
The shield is unsupported to show that this country can stand on its own. At the top of that shield is a white bar signifying congress, supposedly a unifying factor (at least it was supposed to be; may even have been at one time) as the second branch of government. America was coming together as one nation.
The Latin expression, “E PLURIBUS UNUM” can be seen in the bald eagle’s beak; meaning, “one nation from many people”.
Above the eagle, the thirteen stars represent the thirteen original colonies, and any clouds of misunderstanding rolling away. The eagle holds both an olive branch and arrows in his talons. The eagle is facing the olive branch; showing that the country wants peace, but the arrows show that we will never be afraid to fight to preserve peace.
It has been almost a worldwide belief that thirteen is an unlucky number; hotels usually have had no thirteenth floor or rooms numbered thirteen. But think about this data: thirteen original colonies, thirteen total stripes on our flag, thirteen steps on the pyramid, thirteen letters in the Latin above, thirteen letters in “E Pluribus Unum”, thirteen stars above the eagle, thirteen bars on that shield, thirteen leaves on the olive branch, thirteen fruits, and thirteen arrows in the cluster.
Here’s a good question. “Why don’t we know this?” “Why don’t our children learn this?” Too many veterans have given up too much to ever let the meaning fade. Many veterans remember coming home to an America that didn’t care; and way too many veterans never came home at all.
Share this information with people so they can learn that for which these symbols stand. Otherwise, they will probably never know; especially if they are listening to the history-rewriting pundits of today!
Tom Mooty has served Newport’s West End Baptist Church as its Supply Pastor and Interim Pastor and Guest Pastor and Pastor and Senior Pastor and very, very. very Senior Pastor for a total of thirty three cumulative years; and writes this column for The Newport Plain Talk’s Wednesday and Weekend Editions. Mooty appreciates your comments (especially the good ones) which have been sent to email@example.com or P.O. Box 851, Newport, 37822.