Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Don't Tread On Me This 4th of July

With the 4th of July only a few days away, Americans across our great nation prepare to share our reinvigorated feelings of patriotism and pride with our families, friends, and neighbors. The day is full of backyard barbecues and parades while the night belongs to the fireworks lighting the sky. Our red, white, & blue stars and stripes are incorporated into everything from clothing to food as we celebrate the freedom and liberties so many brave Americans fought to give us.

It’s a great feeling to celebrate our current state as a nation but, as a history minor, I find myself looking back to the early days of our nation. While the stars & stripes have become an American symbol, it wasn’t always so and, apparently, others realize this as well. Recently, the Gadsden Flag, with its “don’t tread on me” mantra, has become an incredibly popular item.

Tea Party politics aside, the Gadsden Flag was an early symbol of freedom & independence for the 13 colonies. The flag itself was designed by Christopher Gadsden and was used by the commander in chief of the American Navy, in 1775. The snake, pictured on the flag, was used as a symbol throughout the American Revolution. According to the “American Guesser”, (who is widely believed to have been Benjamin Franklin) Continental Marines had painted the snake and “don’t tread on me” on their drums.
Sneak peek at Rothco's Gadsden cap & shemagh

As such a symbol of classical American independence, it’s no wonder “don’t tread on me” products have grown in popularity. Rothco has not only the Gadsden flag but also a “don’t tread on me” t-shirt and bandana. Later this year, we’ll also be introducing a “don’t tread on me” shemagh and cap with a few other accessories to come.

So while I will most definitely be wearing my red, white, and blue this 4th of July, I think I’ll also add a touch of black & yellow as a throwback to Benjamin Franklin and Christopher Gadsden. Far too often we forget our founding fathers but without these men we wouldn't have any stars and stripes or 4th of July to celebrate. So remember our forefathers who gave us our freedom, the men & women who fight to protect that freedom, and the history of our great nation; for those who don't learn from their history are destined to repeat it.

Matthew J Leone - Rothco

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