Here is a little pop quiz for the Fourth of July: What is the motto of the United States of America? What did the founders propose? And what did Congress decide?
Everyone knows Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star Spangled Banner” during the War of 1812 on September 14, 1814, the morning after the unsuccessful British attack on Ft. McHenry in Baltimore. Most of us do not remember that he called his poem “The Defense of Ft. McHenry.” It became our national anthem after a congressional resolution was signed by President Hoover on March 3, 1931.
We can all say The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, but most do not remember that it was President Franklin Roosevelt who signed the resolution in 1942 making it official. The original version was written by a minister for the observance of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus discovering the new world. It was amended in 1954 in response to the threat of communism, to read “…One nation under God…”
The Great Seal was authorized by the signers of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It was formally adopted by Congress on June 20, 1782. You can see both sides of the Great Seal on the $1 bill. The original motto read: “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” It was quickly changed to “E Pluribus Unum,” or “Out of many, One.” On the reverse side of the seal is an unfinished pyramid under an all-seeing eye with the motto over all that reads, “Annuit Coeptis,” or “He has favored our undertakings.” The motto underneath it reads, “Novos Ordo Seclorum,” or “A new order of the Ages.”
So what is our national motto? “In God we trust,” was first used on a 2 cent coin in 1864. It was added to all coins by congressional decree in 1908, but did not become our official national motto until signed by President Eisenhower on July 30, 1956. But then in 1963, it was determined that “E Pluribus Unum” was also our national motto, and that is what appears on all presidential documents and ratified treaties that have the Great Seal of America affixed to them.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Celebrate Liberty. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.