Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Uncle Sam

This Day in History: September 7, 1813

Throughout a lifetime, each of us encounters many 'uncles' not all of which are blood related. Those that are not of blood origin generally represent a very close male friend of the family often in cases where a parent is an only sibling. Today's uncle is a very special uncle, in fact, an uncle of every United States citizen. The question is...how much do you know about America's 'uncle'?

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons
The national personification of the government of the United States is Uncle Sam. However, this was not the first of such a designation.
The name Columbia personifies the "Americas" and its association with liberty. This identification appeared as early as 1738. Read more HERE...

Personified Columbia in American flag gown and Phrygian cap,
which signifies freedom and the pursuit of liberty,
from a World War I patriotic poster.
With the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) came "Brother Jonathan" as another personification, which was also known as Johnny Reb (the Confederacy during the American Civil War). It is also interesting to note that Billy Yank is the personification of the Union during the American Civil War. After the war, the two halves of its essence (Johnny Reb and Billy Yank) recombined to form Uncle Sam.
A Johnny Reb

There is still question as to why the name "Uncle Sam"?
During the War of 1812, a meat packer named Samuel Wilson from Troy, New York supplied barrels of beef rations to the United States Army. It was customary in those days to stamp the barrels of beef, which Wilson did with the initials U.S. for United States. The soldiers, however, dubbed the food rations as being from "Uncle Sam", also referenced by the initials U.S. After being picked up by a local newspaper, it did not take long for the nickname to become attached to the U.S. federal government. Attached indeed!
Why recognition on September 7?
The significance of this day in history is uncertain except for its mention on This Day in History. The story of Samuel Wilson appears accurate with noteworthy mention that Wilson's birthday is September 13, 1766. For celebration purposes, on September 5, 1989, then President George W. Bush signed a proclamation designating September 13, 1989 as Uncle Same Day calling upon the people of the United states to observe this day each year with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
What is the story behind Uncle Sam's image?
As for the Uncle Sam image, there are two versions. Political cartoonist, Thomas Nast began popularizing Uncle Sam in the late 1860s and 1870s. Nast is attributed with giving Sam the white beard and stars-and-stripes suit that are associated with the character today. The second and most famous image created by artist James Montgomery Flagg depicts Uncle Sam wearing a tall top hat and blue jacket. In this image Uncle Sam is pointing straight ahead at the viewer. During World War I, this portrait of Sam with the words "I Want You For The U.S. Army" was used as a recruiting poster.
Uncle Sam is one of the most recognized symbols of America. Remember Samuel Wilson with celebration on his birthday, September 13th.