‘In God We Trust’
by Patrick H. Hoy
I honestly cannot believe that Memorial Day is just a few days away – where has this year flown to?! It seems like it was only yesterday that we were ringing in the New Year with fireworks – and before you know it, we’ll be lighting up the sky again with fireworks on the 4thof July!
Memorial Day has always meant the start of summer to me. When I was a kid, it meant that school was over, the sweaters could be put away – and my brother and I could throw on shorts and short-sleeved t-shirts and play outside with our best friends. Mom always had fresh lemonade in the fridge – and Dad was always firing up the grill with lots of yummy goodies on the back patio.
Memorial Day also meant the start of ‘patriotic summer season’ – as our family called it. After Memorial Day there was July 4th– which to my brother and me meant the middle of the summer had arrived, so we had better start taking advantage of the long summer days when it would stay light outside until after 8pm – because we knew it was only about two more months until Labor Day would happen – and that meant the end of the summer – and back to school!
We were definitely a patriotic family. My father was a cadet at the West Point Military Academy. Here he is in his senior yearbook picture – doesn’t he look handsome?!
After Dad graduated from West Point, he served his country in Korea, and then again in Viet Nam. It’s something that I’m still so very proud of him for doing.
One of the highlights, for me, of his very distinguished military career, was that he was selected as a permanent member of the teaching faculty at West Point.
One of the things I loved the most about growing up at West Point were the amazing parades! We certainly had our fair share of some of the best parades you could ever imagine – and not just on the 4thof July!!
Here’s a picture of one of those parades – just look at that stunning backdrop with the Cadet Chapel up on the hill!
Every time there was a parade, I remember putting on our best red, white & blue colors and heading to the parade ground. Because there were so many parades – AND because summer lasted for so long – I think I had more red, white & blue outfits than any other kid in America!! WOW – can you imagine if Jeanne Bice & Quacker Factory were on QVC back then?! I think my mother and all of her other officer-wife friends would have been Jeanne’s best customers every summer!!
Each summer just after the 4thof July, we would head to Arkansas to see my relatives. Two of the people I always looked forward to seeing were my godmother and godfather Janet & Matt Rothert. They were definitely a patriotic family as well – because Matt was responsible for having ‘In God We Trust’ chosen as our nation’s official motto – and with having it placed on U.S. paper currency!
Matt was from Indiana, and in 1924, he moved to Camden, Arkansas and founded the Camden Furniture Company. My mother was born and raised in Camden – and I’ll never forget the first time, as a young child, Matt & Janet told me the story of how Matt was instrumental in getting those iconic words placed on paper money.
One Sunday in 1953, during the annual Chicago Furniture Market, Matt was at the Second Presbyterian Church in Chicago. When the offering plate was passed around, he realized that all of the coins in the offering plate had the motto ‘In God We Trust’ on them – but the paper money didn’t.
It was at that moment that the idea to place ‘In God We Trust’ on paper money came to him – and as his daughter Hope said, it seemed like God was encouraging him to so something about it, as he sat there in church!
When Matt got back to Arkansas, he decided to make it his mission to make this happen. He first wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury – who told him that laws would have to be passed if Matt wanted ‘In God We Trust’ as the official motto on all paper money. So he and my godmother Janet went to work! Janet typed over 1,000 letters so that Matt could send them to everyone in Congress. He also spoke to hundreds of groups, including Kiwanis and Rotary service clubs. As Matt, Janet, and their daughter Hope, have said and written about through the years, finally Oklahoma Senator Mike Monroney initiated a bill in the Senate Banking & Currency Committee – and Matt’s good friend Senator Bill Fullbright from Arkansas chaired that committee. Similar bills were then introduced in the House of Representatives. The bills passed – and on July 11th, 1955, President Eisenhower signed the bill that made ‘In God We Trust’ our nations national motto! And in 1956, a law passed in a Joint Resolution by the 84thCongress, and approved by President Eisenhower on July 30th, 1956 declared ‘In God We Trust’ must appear on currency. The phrase was first used on paper money in 1957, when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate. And the first paper currency bearing the phrase entered circulation on October 1st, 1957. How cool is that?!
And in case you’re wondering, the words ‘In God We Trust’ were taken from the 4thstanza of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’! It really doesn’t get anymore patriotic than that! Most of us only know the FIRST stanza of the song, but there are actually four.
So the next time you’re out with your friends, and someone reaches in their purse to pull out a dollar bill, you can tell your friends that you know the guy (ME!) with Quacker Factory on QVC who’s godfather was responsible for getting ‘In God We Trust’ on that bill!
If all of this talk of parades and The Star Spangled Banner has got you in the patriotic mood – and you’re trying to figure out which red, white & blue outfits you’ll be wanting to wear throughout the long summer, CLICK HERE to get some inspiration from our beautiful Quacker Factory Americana Collection.
Quacker Hugs & Love From Across the Duck Pond – and remember: “AMERICA – YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL!
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