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Happy Birthday: Uncle Sam turns 200

By Dian Vujovich

With uncertainty about what –if any– U.S involvement there will be in Syria, Wall Street isn’t quite sure which way to turn.


On the other hand, crude oil prices have now increased to more than 110 bucks since the prospects of a U.S military reaction to Syria’s use of chemical warfare on its own citizens reared its that’s -a-no-no – head. And, the price of an ounce of gold has increased to over $1388.


As for the rest of the market, stock and bond prices will probably remain as jittery as a new enlistee during his or her first day of combat.


I mention the enlistee because today, September 7, is the day Uncle Sam was born according to History.com. Well, not really born since Uncle Sam isn’t a real guy but a nickname complete with picture symbol that relates to everything America-based that relates to money or lives.


Origins of the nickname date back to 1813 and a real live meatpacker named Samuel Wilson. The story goes like this: During the War of 1812, Wilson feed our fighting soldiers by supplying beef to them during that war. The meat arrived in barrels marked “U.S.” and eventually the soldiers began referring to them as barrels from “Uncle Sam.”


Interesting bit of history.  But wait, there’s more.


Uncle Sam turned into a real icon with a face when the ” I Want You For The U.S. Army” World War 1 poster was created.   In case you’ve forgotten, the poster depicts an old bearded guy with a white and blue top hat and an index finger pointed outward. Two words included on it that are often overlooked: “Enlist today.”


Back then, as is the case today, the army was volunteer based.


It’s been 200 years since The Uncle came to life. While I’m hoping he will continue to have a long life, I sure don’t want to see that  “Enlist Today” poster anywhere any time soon.

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