The bald eagle was made the national bird of the United States in 1782. The image of the bald eagle can be found in many places in the U.S., such as on the Great Seal, Federal agency seals, the President's flag, and on the one-dollar bill.
Why was the bald eagle chosen as our national symbol?
The Founding Fathers wanted to choose an animal that was unique to the United States. For six years, the members of Congress engaged in a dispute over what the national emblem should be. As a result of the debate, the bald eagle was chosen because it symbolized strength, courage, freedom, and immortality and that it would look much better as our national symbol.Some Famous Quotes Concerning The Bald Eagle:
One of the most prominent opponents to the bald eagle's status was Benjamin
Franklin. In a letter to a friend, Franklin wrote:
I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character; like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy. The turkey is a much more respectable bird and withal a true, original native of America.
President John F. Kennedy wrote to the Audubon Society:
The Founding Fathers made an appropriate choice when they selected the bald eagle as the emblem of the nation. The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolizes the strength and freedom of America. But as latter-day citizens we shall fail our trust if we permit the eagle to disappear.
Maude M. Grant:
It is said the eagle was used as a national emblem because, at one of the first battles of the Revolution (which occurred early in the morning) the noise of the struggle awoke the sleeping eagles on the heights and they flew from their nests and circled about over the heads of the fighting men, all the while giving vent to their raucous cries. "They are shrieking for Freedom," said the patriots.
Thus the eagle, full of the boundless spirit of freedom, living above the valleys, strong and powerful in his might, has become the national emblem of a country that offers freedom in word and thought and an opportunity for a full and free expansion into the boundless space of the future.
Quotes from JFK and Benjamin Franklin courtesy: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Quote from Maude M. Grant courtesy: baldeagleinfo.com
Other information courtesy: Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids