Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The Timber Rattlesnake, a uniquely American creature, has been symbolic of America even before the Bald Eagle was adopted as our national symbol.
The use of the timber rattlesnake as a symbol of the American colonies can be traced back to Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette in 1751. Writing of the British policy to send convicted criminals to America, Franklin suggested sending rattlesnakes to England.
In 1754, during the French and Indian War, Franklin published his famous woodcut of a snake cut into eight sections. It represented the colonies, with New England joined together as the head and South Carolina as the tail, following their order along the coast. Under the snake was the message "Join, or Die". This was the first political cartoon published in an American newspaper.
The Gadsden flag - also known as the Rattlesnake Flag - is a historical American flag depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Positioned below the snake is the legend "Don't Tread on Me". The flag was designed by American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden. It was also used by the United States Marine Corps as an early motto flag.
In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, unofficial usage of the Gadsden flag by the U.S. Government has been seen, most notably by Customs and harbor patrol boats in U.S. ports and individuals serving abroad in the U.S. Military.
The motto "This We’ll Defend" on a scroll held by the rattlesnake is depicted on the official seal of the United States Army. It signifies the Army’s constant readiness to defend and preserve the United States.
The rattlesnake is also depicted on the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Identification Badge.
The First Navy Jack, directly related to the Gadsden flag.
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 the First Navy Jack been officially flown by the U.S. Navy on all active naval ships.
The Gadsden Rattlesnake insignia, featured by the National Rifle Association.
The Rattlesnake logo in use by RANGER UP on their gear.