This is a very interesting experience :
Take out a one dollar bill and look at it carefully. The one dollar bill you're looking at first came off the presses in 1957 in its present design. This so-called paper money is in fact a cotton and linen blend, with red and blue minute silk fibres running through it. It is actually material. We've all washed it without it falling apart. A special blend of ink is used, the contents we will never know. It is overprinted with symbols and then it is starched to make it water resistant and pressed to give it that nice crisp look.
If you look on the front of the bill, you will see the United States Treasury Seal. The Continental Congress decided to create a national seal or emblem on July 4th 1776, the same day that the congress adopted the Declaration of Independence and the birth date of the United States as a nation.
The congress appointed Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams to a committee to devise a national seal. It took six years, three committees, several artistic contributions and many revisions before the final seal was adopted on June 20th 1782. On the top you will see the scales for the balance, a balanced budget. In the centre you have a carpenter's T-square, a tool used for an even cut. Underneath is the Key to the United States Treasury. That's all pretty easy to figure out, but what is on the back of that dollar bill is something we all should know.
If you turn the bill over, you will see two circles. Both circles, together, comprise the Great Seal of the United States. The First Continental Congress requested that Benjamin Franklin and a group of men come up with a Seal. It took them four years to accomplish this task and another two years to get it approved. If you look at the left hand circle, you will see a Pyramid.
Notice the face is lighted and the western side is dark. This country was just beginning. They had not begun to explore the West or decided what they could do for Western Civilization. The Pyramid is un-capped, again signifying that we were not even close to being finished. The Egyptian pyramid is a symbol of strength and duration. The 13 steps indicate the original number of state, and they lead to an unfinished summit, indicating future growth of the nation.
Inside the capstone you have the all-seeing eye, an ancient symbol for divinity, surrounded by rays of light. The single eye shows up in Egyptian mythology as the Eye of Horus, an important deity to the ancient Egyptians. The eye represented wisdom, health and prosperity.
Some people think that the "all-seeing eye" is a symbol of Freemasonry, a fraternal organization, and shows that the Founding Fathers believed in Masonic principles and wanted to impose Masonic order on the United States. It was Franklin's belief that one man couldn't do it alone, but a group of men, with the help of God, could do anything. "IN GOD WE TRUST" is on this currency. The Latin above the pyramid, ANNUIT COEPTIS, means "God has favoured our undertaking" The Latin below the pyramid, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM, means "a new order has begun", referring to the birth of America in 1776.
At the base of the pyramid is the Roman Numeral for 1776 (MDCCLXXVI) the year of independence.
If you look at the right-hand circle, and check it carefully, you will learn that it is on every National Cemetery in the United States, and is the centrepiece of most hero's monuments. Slightly modified, it is the seal of the President of the United States and it is always visible whenever he speaks.
The Bald Eagle was selected as a symbol for victory for two reasons: first, he is not afraid of a storm; he is strong and he is smart enough to soar above it. Secondly, he wears no material crown. They had just broken from the King of England.
Also, notice the shield is unsupported. This country can now stand on its own. At the top of that shield you have a white bar signifying congress, a unifying factor. We were coming together as one nation.
In the Eagle's beak you will read the motto, E PLURIBUS UNUM, meaning "one nation from many people", conveying the union of the states.
Above the Eagle you have thirteen stars representing the thirteen original colonies, and any clouds of misunderstanding rolling away. Notice what the Eagle holds in his talons. He holds an olive branch and arrows. This country wants peace, but we will never be afraid to fight to preserve peace. The Eagle always wants to face the olive branch, but in time of war, his gaze turns toward the arrows.
They say that the number 13 is an unlucky number. This is almost a worldwide belief. You will usually never see a room numbered 13, or any hotels or motels with a 13th floor.
But think about this:
13 original colonies,
13 signers of the Declaration of Independence,
13 stripes on the US flag,
13 steps on the Pyramid,
13 letters in the Latin above,
13 letters in "E Pluribus Unum",
13 stars above the Eagle,
13 plumes of feathers on each span of the Eagle's wing,
13 bars on that shield, 13 leaves on the olive branch,
13 fruits, and if you look closely,
Food for thought!