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The Meaning Behind the Seal on the Presidential Flag

Volume 5 Issue 2 Fall-Winter 2018-19

The flag of the President of the United States consists of the presidential coat of arms on a dark blue background. The flag contains elements of the presidential seal that is used on official documents, however, the seal itself and the flag have separate histories.

Eagle: The bald eagle, native to North America, is designed in its natural colors. The green olive branch in the eagle’s right talons refers to the power of peace, while the white and gray arrows in the left talons refer to war.

Shield: The seven red and six white stripes correspond to the number of stripes of the National Flag. The color white means purity and innocence; red means hardiness and valor. The rectangle at the top of the shield is called the chief. It is light blue to honor George Washington. His flag during the Revolutionary War was the same color blue as the chief.

Crest: Above the eagle is a ‘radiating glory’ of 13 cloud puffs of white and gray with rays of the sun in gold breaking through the clouds. This means the United States takes its place as a separate country in the world. The nine white stars above the eagle’s head and four white stars on the eagle’s right side represent the original 13 colonies that formed the United States in 1776.

Motto: “E Pluribus Unum” is Latin for “Out of many, one.” The words are blue on a ribbon of white. This refers to uniting all the separate states under one Federal Government. 

The entire design is surrounded by 50 white stars, one for each State of the Union.

On February 5, 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10860. This law governs the design and use of the presidential seal. 

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