It’s hard to believe the widely recognized peace symbol is 50 years old today, but downright scary to think that the Vietnam war protests were 40 years ago.
I was the right age to march in one of those protests, although our march emphasized support for the troops and the nation (“Color us red, white, and blue”), even as we opposed the war itself. I don’t recall hearing then, in the late ’60s, that the symbol actually had originated in England in 1958. I was told U.S. hippies and peaceniks had contrived it and that it was a stylized swept-wing B-52 bomber, the plane being used for carpet-bombing and dropping Agent Orange in Vietnam’s DMZ.
I didn’t read about the symbol’s true origin (Gerald Holtom, England, 1958 ) until just a few hours ago and find it curious that of half dozen or so articles about the meaning of the design, none mentions the bomber image. Surely it’s there somewhere.
Holtom’s design began as a symbol for nuclear disarmament, evolved into an anti-Vietnam War sign, and went on to become an internationally recognized symbol for peace. Intentionally, it was never copyrighted, so that it would remain free to everyone. It has persisted for 50 years and is instantly recognized around the world. What a tribute to effective, simple design.
© 2008 PiedType.com