The United States Army was officially established on June 14, 1775. Its leaders combined well-known military traditions with new standards to create an institution that reflected the idea of patriotism. On April 19, 1775, the Battles of Lexington and Concord marked the beginning of the Revolutionary War. This event prompted the Continental Congress to call for the formation of the US Army and rally troops from all thirteen colonies. Known as the Continental Army at the time, the US Army became America’s first national institution. On June 19, the Continental Congress appointed George Washington as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.
Following the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the Continental Army became known as the Army of the United States. The U.S. Congress replaced the Continental Congress in 1789 and created the Department of War to oversee the US Army.
The US Army Logo Five-Pointed Star
The US Army logo, with its five-pointed star, seeks to embody the values, services, and objectives of the United States Army. Logos are most often used to generate a bond of trust between a brand, or institution, and the viewer. The US Army logo accomplishes just that. The Army logo is used to represent the values of the United States Army, including duty, honor, and courage, and the Army’s commitment to the country. Because of this representation, there are a large number of people who enjoy wearing the US Army logo on shirts, hats, bags, pins, and much more. Even though the Army logo is one of the most recognizable logos, the history of the design is still lesser known and remains a thing of the past.
Great Seal of the United States
While not specifically a US Army logo, the Great Seal of the United States has a design that is used in many US Army logos and on many medals, hats, in different variations. The seal has a coat of arms that resembles the American flag with an eagle behind it that holds thirteen arrows and an olive branch with thirteen leaves and thirteen olives. The arrows represent war, while the olive branch represent peace. The number thirteen is to symbolize the thirteen original states. The eagle also holds a ribbon in its beak that reads “E pluribus unum” (“Out of many, one”). Above the head of the eagle is a glory with thirteen stars.
On the day that independence was declared from Great Britain, July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress assigned a committee with the task of designing a seal for the United States. Over the course of six years, and three committees, with elements coming from each one, the seal was accepted in 1782.
The first committee, made up of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, proposed a design that included the motto “E pluribus unum.” The second committee, consisting of James Lovell, John Morin Scott, and William Churchill Houston (alongside Francis Hopkinson), composed two different designs that used the elements of the shield which resembles the flag of the United States, the glory with the stars, and the olive branch and arrows to represent war and peace. The third, and last, committee, John Rutledge (later replaced by Arthur Lee), Arthur Middleton, and Elias Boudinot (aided by William Barton), designed a seal with an eagle.
In 1782, Congress Secretary Charles Thomson took the above elements and designed a seal that gave the basis for the final seal. The design was submitted and accepted on June 20. Since then, minor changes have been made to alter the position of the eagle and the glory with the thirteen stars, but the overall design has remained relatively the same.
The Eagle on US Army Cockades
The bald eagle that is pictured on the Seal of the United States became an US Army logo that is seen on cockades and various insignias. In 1799, when it was prescribed that members of the Army wear black cockades, the general design was of the eagle sitting in a bank of clouds. However, there were differences in the design because there were multiple manufacturers. During the War of 1812, the olive branch and arrows were added to the Army emblem. The final change was made in 1821 that added the shield on the breast of the eagle and portrayed the eagle with its wings spread.
“This We’ll Defend”
The United States Army‘s official slogan is “This We’ll Defend”. This slogan was created during the Revolutionary War and represents the most important purpose of the Army: to defend our country. “This” refers to the United States, the US Constitution, and the country’s freedom and independence. “We’ll” represents the Army itself and any other institution that may be working alongside it. Lastly, “defend” is the primary function of the US Army, and not to be the aggressor toward other countries.
“Duty, Honor, Country”
The coat of arms, along with the slogan “Duty, Honor, Country,” perfectly sums up the ideals of the United States Military Academy. These emblems were put into place in 1898 and sought to represent the military and educational functions of the academy, as well as its overall character and spirit. The coat of arms consists of a sword and the helmet of Pallas Athena over a shield background. On top of the shield is an eagle that holds thirteen arrows and thirteen olive branches. The eagle also holds a ribbon with “West Point, MDCCCII, USMA” on one side and the slogan “Duty, Honor, Country” on the other. Today, many people associate this slogan with the United States Army, as the ideals that it represents are also important ideals to the Army.
The United States Army has existed for longer than any other US institution, yet the US Army logo has undergone little change compared to others, such as the Marine Corp logo. The values and ideals that were upheld when the US Army was created still hold true today. They are proudly displayed in the US Army logo and many other slogans and insignias.