September 13 - Uncle Sam Day

Posted on September 13, 2017

Have you ever seen a white-bearded, pale skinned man dressed in red-white-and-blue and wearing a hat with a
starred blue band? This guy is often seen pointing his finger and saying "I want YOU!" 

Uncle Sam is a popular symbol for America. Did you ever wonder who the real Sam was?

Uncle Sam often looks intense, maybe even forbidding.
But sometimes he looks more jolly or smiley.

Sam Wilson lived in New York, and he was hard working and honest. Apparently he was also an important source of food for America's army during the War of 1812. He stamped "U.S." on the casks of meat that his packinghouse prepared for the troops. Of course, the "U.S." stood for the young nation, the United States, but many soldiers fondly talked as if it stood for "Uncle Sam" Wilson.

The name Uncle Sam stuck, and eventually most people forgot about the real Sam, Mr. Wilson. But today is Samuel Wilson's birthday (he was born on this date in 1766), and in 1989, then-President George H. W. Bush declared September 15 to be Uncle Sam Day.

Because Uncle Sam is a personification of an entire country, he is used to portray a lot of very different kinds of messages. Here are a few examples:

And just maybe...

Some historians argue that Samuel Wilson and the meat stamped U.S. has nothing to do with the Uncle Sam character. There are some lyrics in a version of "Yankee Doodle" that mentions an Uncle Sam - even though this version dates to 1775, when Wilson was only 9 years old and his contribution to feeding the American troops was years in the future. So maybe all of the stuff above, even though President Bush used it as the reasoning for September 13 being Uncle Sam Day, has nothing to do with the widely-recognized personification of the United States?

No comments:

Post a Comment