Brief American Revolutionary War History and Our Independence
Volunteer Private Martin and Yellow Drums with Coiled Rattlesnake
Some of the Marines that enlisted were carrying drums painted yellow, adorned with a rattlesnake, coiled and ready to strike, with thirteen rattles, according to USMCmuseum.com. The drums had the motto “Don’t Tread on Me,” and Martin probably carried this type of drum.
The Gadsden Flag
Benjamin Franklin’s Illustration and Meaning
What does the Gadsden flag symbolize?
History presents evidence that the Gadsden Flag was intentionally designed NOT to convey a racist message but a strong patriotic one of courage, vigilance, no surrender, and unity. Here are some examples of the flag’s meaning and symbolism, as written by Colonel Gadsden’s friend and colleague, Benjamin Franklin, from revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com:
- The Rattlesnake is unique and found in no other quarter of the world besides America;
- The rattlesnake also has sharp eyes and “may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance”;
- She never begins an attack nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is, therefore, an emblem of magnanimity (loyalty) and true courage; and
- The rattle equals the number of the Colonies united in America.
What is the genuine meaning of “Don’t Tread On Me” today?
The U.S. Navy’s Jack Flag
Military Units Using the Gadsden Flag and The “Union Jack”
The “Union Jack,” comprising the national ensign’s blue field and white stars, was first adopted on June 14, 1777. At this time, the Jack’s blue field only displayed the 13 stars representing the union of the original 13 American colonies. The number of stars on the Jack was periodically updated as the United States expanded.
The Rattlesnake Jack and the Modern Navy
The Secretary of the Navy, in May 2002, directed the use of the Rattlesnake Jack in place of the Union Jack for the duration of the Global War on Terrorism.
Is Displaying the Gadsden Flag Racial Harassment
Interestingly, available historical evidence at the time shows that a majority of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and over half of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention owned slaves, according to Smithsonianmag.com. And four of the first five presidents of the United States were slaveholders. Some, including George Washington, freed their slaves. The famous 1818 oil painting by John Trumball depicts 47 founding fathers, of which 34 or 72% were slaveholders, according to politifact.com. At this historical time, slave ownership was very prevalent. In 1776, it was not illegal to own slaves and was legal in ALL 13 of the new states. What is important is that slavery began to be attacked and eliminated from that moment forward in time. Battlefield.org states about our founding fathers that “all expressed a wish at some point to see the institution of slavery gradually abolished.”
POINT: This flag is based on an actual historical situation that occurred, the American Revolution, to reinforce the ideals of freedom and liberty fought by our brave Veterans. It is a positive symbol of unity, and it is not necessary to erase its history but to learn from some of it. It is not about political views and racial discrimination, and it is inappropriate to tear our country apart with negative and inflammatory accusations. Instead, we should positively recall, commemorate, build up, and show respect for our Veterans and unity for an important U.S. historical event… building support for our freedoms, rights, and liberty. The all-embracing theme of the motto today should be unity for liberty for all.
Your Opportunity to Show Support to Veterans Who Fought for Our Liberty
Several states have generic license plates available for Veterans to honor their service. Some have unique, specialty license plates which have a more specific theme but still apply to Veterans, e.g., Florida (Don’t Tread on Me), Texas, Arizona, Virginia, Nevada, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
When it comes to raising funds for the good of Veterans, the specialty license plate symbolizes that effort. Hope you will support our Veterans who gave so much for us. To order your Gadsden Flag License Plate for yourself or for someone else in Florida, visit HELPFLVETS.ORG/SPECIALTY-LICENSE-PLATE. Thank you!
We live in an uncertain, divisive, and dangerous time now. Sadly, our U.S. history and its factual events and symbols are being rewritten, destroyed, misinterpreted, and/or forever changed. Certainly, our historical events, people, ideologies, and artifacts existed. While some of them we are not proud of, we cannot deny that events and actions really occurred and are a part of our history. Do not forget our Veterans and the roles they have played and are playing in supporting our great country. We must take a positive approach rather than a destructive and divisive approach, so ALL can recognize and learn from the past, not repeat mistakes, and make the future even better for EVERYONE. But, we must first identify, report, and have a plan for improvement with the cooperation of all parties involved and affected. We must be united in our pursuit of liberty. Our flags in our history are intended to show our patriotic support and positive representations of historical events and desire for liberty at that time. This basic premise and desire for liberty and freedom still exist today. Why do some criticize a motto or symbol with a narrow perspective and not see their historical significance, genuine meaning, and authentic learning opportunities? Why do some consider them negative and racist depictions? How does this lack of the “big picture” perspective, lack of respect for the past sacrifices of others, and the desire to cover up our heritage contribute to growth and improvement?
Our Gadsden Flag is a positive symbol with a veritable message to represent and to reinforce the liberty we all desire. It reminds us of the appreciation and support for Veterans who have sacrificed so much for our liberty.
Together we must respect and honor our Veterans and our united American spirit of liberty for all. We each must accept this responsibility and take positive action to show this. We must work together for a Win-Win-Win result for all involved Americans. Be Proud of the Heritage we all share and the chance to learn and grow even more as a “United” group of “States” and individuals.
Success and Peace, Loyal American Citizens!
Lead Photo from Wikipedia Public Domain by Christopher Gadsden, 1775. Other Photo by Permission of Florida Veterans Foundation, Dennis Baker.
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only, and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense, and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.