Company Helps Celebrate Peace Sign's 50th Birthday

The peace sign, the symbol that helped define a generation is fifty years old. While some believe the iconic image of a generation passed is less prevelant now, one company is launching a new product that brings back one of the most popular visual messages in history. Houston Public Radio's Pat Hernandez has more.

It was introduced in Britain in 1958 to promote nuclear disarmament, but it spread as fast as its interpretation. After the U.S. Patent Office ruled in 1970 that the Peace Symbol was in the public domain, it was quickly commercialized. Ken Kolsbun, co-author of the book "Peace: The Biography of a Symbol," says the sign has become a rallying cry for almost any group working for social change.

"I call it the chameleon icon. It started out as an anti-nuke symbol, the it went to anti-war with the Vietnam war, alongside civil rights, and then it morphed into environmental rights, but always holding its original peace meaning. Then it's gone into human rights, all kinds of things...and so, the question is also what will be the next thing on its agenda?"

Enter Glenn Miller:

"The peace sign with the use of the two fingers, kind of became more of a pose for photographs."

Miller's company produces PEACEMAGZ, a new generation version of the ever popular emblem.

"It's in the shape of a hand flashing the peace sign. They come in a design where there's a U.S. flag below the hand, and also with different sayings. GIVE PEACE A CHANCE, END THE WAR, BRING THEM HOME, and most old little lady's favorite...WAR SUCKS."

Miller says back in the 60s, you were either for the war or against it.

"There was a time when the peace sign was used to show other people where you stood on the war and the issue of war versus peace. Once again, that issue has come to the forefront of our society, of our country, and it's just a way for people to let other people know that they have something in common and they share the same stand when it comes to the war."

He says back then, those opposed to the war used the Peace Sign as a way of showing their displeasure with the government's direction.

"Today, I'm offering this up not just to the youth of today but I've had receptions from every age group along the way male and female that just think it's a great idea and people are just willing to slap it on to the back of their cars and show other people how they feel."

Miller says it is his goal is to have PEACEMAGZ on the back of millions of cars & trucks within the next election cycle. More information on the symbol and the book can be found on our website, KUHF.org.

Pat Hernandez, Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...