This internationally recognized symbol for peace was designed by Gerald Holtom, and completed February 21, 1958, making it an even 50 years old today. The symbol is a combination of the semaphoric signals for the letters “N” and “D,” standing for Nuclear Disarmament. In semaphore the letter “N” is formed by a person holding two flags in an upside-down “V,” and the letter “D” is formed by holding one flag pointed straight up and the other pointed straight down.
The peace symbol button was imported into the United States in 1960 by Philip Altbach, a freshman at the University of Chicago, who traveled to England to meet with British peace groups as a delegate from the Student Peace Union (SPU). He bought a bag of the buttons in England and brought them back to Chicago, where he had them reproduced and distributed to thousands of college students.
Continue spreading the peace! You can type the peace symbol when writing letters and emails in Unicode. In Unicode, the peace symbol is U+262E: ?, and can thus be generated in HTML by typing ☮ or ☮.
Happy birthday, Peace!