As the Fourth of July approaches and the men’s national soccer team moves on to the next round in the World Cup I have been feeling a little more patriotic. Recently talking with friends after a few references to the Revolutionary War, George Washington, and freedom I felt even more patriotic when I got the chance to explain what a Gadsden flag was to. If you don’t know, I’m sure you have seen them flying or on a bumper sticker, it is a yellow flag designed by General Gadsden of the war showing a coiled rattlesnake with the motto “don’t tread on me.” makes sense for a revolutionary flag, don’t step on a snake or you’ll get bit, don’t step on America, I get it. Then I decided to do a little more research about our slithery friend on the flag and came across a letter Ben Franklin wrote to the Pennsylvania Journal in 1775. In the letter he writes:
“…I recollected that her [rattle snake] eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal and that she has no eye-lids. She 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 and true courage. As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shown and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal. Conscious of this, she never wounds 'till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.”
So a little bit of information for you as we approach the 4th.