Happy birthday, peace sign

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Until it was mentioned in yesterday’s Times, I never realized that Good Friday marks the official birthday of the peace sign. Gerald Holtom, a designer from West London, came up with the now-famous symbol by combining letters from the semaphore, or flag-signalling, alphabet. An N stands for “nuclear”; a D for “disarmament”; and the circle around the two is meant to symbolize Earth.

The peace sign had its first official outing 50 years ago at a Good Friday demonstration in England that was organized by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

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