Also from the 1969 musical (reviewed on this blog, here) is a song having American founders debate what would be the national bird of the USA. John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson posit their views. Of course, an eagle is chosen.
Countries typically designate national symbols to represent the values and ideas of their country. Flags, coat of arms, official seals (imprints, not the animal), colors, anthems, trees and flowers… it’s similar to the way high schools and colleges have mascots?
People can then get behind their country, in the spirit of the symbol. National symbols attempt to build patriotism, but can also divide.
Religious representations on government documents are not universally accepted. Further, it can be challenging to come up with a symbol broad enough to please all domestic interests. For instance, Canada did not have a national flag until nearly a century after the country was founded. The national seal of Liberia has a ship coming to shore, representing freed American slaves, but this depiction fails to encapsulate the experiences of the indigenous people already in this part of West Africa:
Also from this musical: Cool, Cool Considerate Men