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A national symbol is a distinct object that identifies a country and its people. These can include a flag or national anthem, or even unofficial symbols that are often as well-known as the country’s more formal symbols.
The United States has six official symbols that represent the country as a whole, including the national anthem and the U.S. flag, according to the Library of Congress. But what are the other four?
A bald eagle
In 1782, Congress selected the bald eagle as the country’s official symbol. Ever since, an image of an eagle clutching an olive branch and arrows in its talons has been depicted on buildings, documents, currency and other official government-related items.
Bald eagles are unique to North America, but eagles have been associated with authority since the Roman times, according to Live Science.
The Liberty Bell
Located in Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell is an important symbol of America’s independence that traces its history back to the Revolutionary War.
The bell became popular after a short story claimed an old man rang the bell on July 4, 1776 — after the Second Continental Congress voted to become independent from England — giving it its signature crack.
In reality, the bell cracked in the early 1800s, historians say. Still, the bell has become synonymous with the Declaration of Independence.
The Statue of Liberty
Officially called “the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World,” the sculpture in New York City was a gift to the United States from the people of France. It was dedicated in 1886.
Standing 305 feet tall, the statue depicts Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, holding a tablet and a torch overhead. It’s often seen as a symbol for freedom and justice. And because of its location near Ellis Island — where millions of immigrants to the United States have arrived — it’s also become a symbol for hope.
Uncle Sam is a cartoon that traces its history to the War of 1812, and has become a well-known representation of patriotism.
“Uncle Sam” was a nickname given to Samuel Wilson, a New York-based meatpacker who supplied beef to the United States army during the war, according to History.com. Word of his story spread. In the 1860s to 1870s, a cartoonist popularized the image of Uncle Sam, giving him a white beard and a stars-and-stripes suit.
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