Peace Sign Should Remain Meaningful

For fifty years, the peace symbol has been a not only a common symbol, but a universal symbol for peace. Now, fifty years after its birth, most of America has taken it for granted. The peace symbol was first used in Britain in 1958. It was originally known as the “ban the bomb” symbol, seeing as it was first used by anti-nuclear groups during a nuclear weapons protest. Gerald Holtom, a WWII conscientious objector, designed the symbol to be a human being with its arms down in despair. Holtom designed the symbol for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), whose first president was Sir Bertrand Russell. The symbol eventually made its way across the Atlantic Ocean to America where it was adopted by many different groups. During the Vietnam era, the symbol became extremely common from its use in the anti-war movement. Today, the peace symbol can be seen on shirts, on mugs, on flags, spray painted on walls, and everywhere in between. The symbol has become a commercialized fashion statement. This would seem to be a good thing, as it might mean that the ideas of peace are being accepted by the masses, but few people bother to think about the significance of the symbol. The symbol increases in popularity every day, yet America has been at war for five years. Thinking back to original meaning of the symbol creates an even sadder picture. Originally it stood for nuclear disbarment, yet the number of countries with nuclear munitions has been steadily growing in the last 50 years. The United States has an estimated 10,000 nuclear weapons, enough to destroy humanity many times over. Does it seem ironic that so many Americans wear clothes with the symbol? Last year, an airplane was caught with nuclear munitions heading to the Middle East. Nuclear war is thought to be what WWIII will be, and war is being threatened over Iran’s nuclear program. The real meaning of the symbol should be restored, if not for anti-nuclear activism, then for pro-peace activism. The symbol was first used during a 50 mile march, but now few people are willing to come out to peace rallies. Sadly enough, very few people will even go out a vote for peace-minded candidates once every couple years. Wear the symbol proudly. Share the symbol with everyone. Most importantly, live for what the symbol is supposed to mean and represent; activism. Participate in anti-war rallies. Write to politicians so they know that peace is important to the common citizen. Remember and respect the symbol. After 50 years, the importance of this simple symbol should not be forgotten.