How much is $1 worth? Turn bill over

Take a good look at the back side of any dollar bill. An American learning opportunity awaits!
Two circles there, together, make up the great seal of the United States. Think our modern government moves too slowly? When the First Continental Congress convened in 1774, it asked Ben Franklin, assisted by a few good men, to come up with a design for the new nation’s seal. Just as today’s committees do, they moved like molasses.
It took four years for them to make a decision, and then another two years went by before their basic ideas were approved.
Now look at what they submitted, and why. In the left circle, there’s a pyramid with its western side dark, because this country had not yet begun to explore its own West (or to figure out what it might contribute to Western civilization). And the pyramid has no top, signifying that the young United States wasn’t a finished entity yet.
But inside that detached capstone is the All-Seeing Eye — a very ancient symbol of Divinity. Ben Franklin was instrumental in this choice, too; he believed that no one person could do anything as worthwhile as starting a new country all by himself, but could do virtually anything while working with others — if, of course, God chose to help. And so “In God We Trust” appears on this bill.
Above the pyramid is the Latin phrase “Annuit Coeptis,” meaning that someone (hopefully God) favors something that has just been begun. That “something” is “Novus Ordo Seclorum,” the Latin phrase at the pyramid’s base, which means that a new order has started.
Remember, however: The Great Seal was put together very slowly; this new motto wasn’t even suggested, let alone included, until 1782. By then the Continental Congress had picked another founding father, Charles Thomson, to come up with the seal’s final design.
Now look carefully at the right-hand circle. Today, it appears at every national cemetery in our country, and is a centerpiece on the monuments to many U.S. heroes. You can also see it, only slightly modified, whenever you turn on the TV to watch Obama speak; this circle is itself the Seal of the President of the United States. On it, you’ll find the bald eagle (our national bird despite Franklin’s spirited championing of the turkey, which he preferred because it is indigenous to America).
The eagle was chosen because our First Congress said this bird is never afraid of a storm since he’s always strong enough to fly above it. He wears no crown, because our new country had separated itself from English royalty. And his shield shows no visible support, indicating that this fledgling American union is already able to stand on its own.
The white bar topping that shield tells us that a united First Congress had turned a few individual states into a single nation; the words emerging from the eagle’s beak say the same in Latin: “E Pluribus Unum” — “from many comes one.” In his talons, he holds both an olive branch and arrows: Our country will always want peace, but will never be afraid to fight for its preservation.
Many people in many cultures consider 13 a most unlucky number; you’ll seldom find a hotel or a skyscraper with a 13th floor. But be sure to notice on your dollar bill the 13 steps of the Pyramid, 13 letters each in the two Latin phrases, 13 leaves on the eagle’s olive branch, and — count carefully, now! — 13 arrows.
And we of all people must never forget that Philadelphia’s Jewish Haym Salomon personally gave $25 million to help finance the Revolution. When George Washington later offered him a reward, Salomon said he wanted nothing for himself, only something for his people.
Which is why the 13 stars above the eagle, one for each of the 13 original colonies, are carefully arranged into a single Star of David!

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