Newsline

Newsline , Society

American Bald Eagle – Symbol

Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2024
|
by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
|
33 Comments
American Bald Eagle Flag Patriotism

Nature teaches, now and then aided by history. Today, an Eagle – an American Bald Eagle – alighted in my tallest pine. I watched him. Unlike any other bird or animal, he seemed preoccupied. His eyes pushed the far horizon, searching for something. I wondered what.

We all know the Bald Eagle is America’s symbol – but often forget why, as well as how he ended up our symbol. The real story began exactly 250 years ago, in 1774, actually a year earlier, 1773.

In 1773, as in 2023, war was a concern, on the minds of many who lived in what would soon become the United States of America. The so-called French and Indian Wars ended that year, with Britain outflanking France to hold onto what then were colonies, that is, us.

Feeling their oats and concluding that we, the colonies, should pay for their war, the British passed what they called the Tea Act, which irked the politically incorrect colonists, who took their political incorrectness up a notch, dressed as Mohawk Native Americans, which they dared to call Indians, and dumped several hundred chests of tea into Boston Harbor.

While none of this was caught on camera, no one apparently wore buffalo horns, no record of English infiltrators in the mob, or any English sailors or members of the East India Company waiving these fake Mohawks aboard, the colonists did raise a stink, make a mess, and really piss off the King.

In 1774, the British promptly passed the Intolerable Acts, in effect centralizing power, ramping up government control over the colonists, and even mandating British soldiers be “quartered” in better housing, which would later produce our 3rd Amendment, barring any mandate to house British soldiers.

Most importantly, all this produced, also in 1774, the First Continental Congress. By 1776, things had gotten well out of hand, and the Continental Congress threw down, said enough, produced the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, influenced by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and James Madison, among others.

Next on the list, beyond waging and winning the Revolutionary War, was picking a symbol for the nation. Without jest, this also was decided on – made an issue to be decided on – in 1776. So, Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams were appointed to pick the national symbol, and bring it back to Congress for a vote.

Typical of Americans then and now, the three disagreed. Franklin did not want a turkey, as some suggest, although he later quibbled with the design for the eagle; he wanted a Bible scene featuring Moses dispatching the Pharoah’s troops, with God’s help.

 Jefferson wanted a depiction of Children of Israel escaping slavery, which suggests a longer-range aspiration, with two Ando-Saxon warriors famous for battling a British monarch. Adams, never famous for understatement, wanted Hercules.

No one, apparently, thought of an eagle. The Continental Congress rejected all three designs and set up a new committee. Years of work produced a new design, a shield held by a goddess of liberty and justice. The Constitutional Congress gave that the thumbs down, and set up a new committee.

That one integrated the new flag into the design, carried by a warrior and Lady Liberty.  That design was also rejected. Finally, another committee was formed, which came up with an eagle and dove symbol, but none on the Continental Congress seemed enamored by doves mid-war, so that was ditched.

In a bid for something new, the group turned to the Congress’ secretary, Charles Thomson, for some inspiration, and he returned with a symbol centered on the American Bald Eagle. Cleverly, he just wrote up a description,  did not try to offer an artistic design – and his idea flew.

So, why was the symbol so popular, later described by Jefferson as the right choice, eventually part of the presidential seal? Because the bird is majestic, strong, unrivaled in the sky, and flies solo, or as the designer said, “denotes that the United States of America ought to rely on their own virtue.”

All that brought me back to the Bald Eagle in my pine, eyes farseeing, and my wonder. Eagles are vigilant, farseeing, and decisive, their eyes human-size, a million cones per square millimeter. They have a 340-degree field of vision, can see more than five times what a human can, best sight in the animal kingdom.

So, what was my Eagle seeing? Untroubled by wind in branches, cold gusts off the lake, or anything near at hand, he was focused intently on the horizon, where – when I followed his view – I could see nothing.

Truth is, I do not know what he saw, and after he had taken his fill of the view, he slowly gathered his strength under those extraordinary wings, leaned into the wind, and spread his full six-foot wingspan, notably heading for the far horizon, with what seemed neither urgency nor concern, but deliberation.

That noble bird is rightly our symbol, of who we are, who we must remember we are. Upon us now is the need to be farseeing, unafraid, focused and deliberative, aware of our surroundings, what it takes to survive, lead, and if necessary fly solo. Nature teaches, occasionally aided by history.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...

The AMAC Action Logo

Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.

Donate Now
Share this article:
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
33 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
David
David
27 days ago

Thank you for the history lesson. Lessons like this should be taught in schools. History now is either not taught or so distorted by the left. Thank you AMAC for being here. An honest and true lesson.

Rebecca
Rebecca
27 days ago

I’m always impressed by how you relate nature to our human concerns/problems. Good job! We as a people need to get our heads out of the sand, stand tall and speak our minds. We are not against helping others from other countries but we need to follow the law. We need to care for OUR people first. They need to be placed at the FRONT of the line instead of the end of the line. If we could see in the far distance, like the Bald Eagle, can we honestly say we like/approve of what we see? I’m praying for a turnaround to the values we, the USA, were founded on.

Debbie Boggs
Debbie Boggs
27 days ago

Thanks, Robert, for that article. I never knew the story behind our symbol. I enjoyed the history lesson, and I always love the stories of animals that you write so well.

Janis
Janis
27 days ago

When I saw the headline, I had but one thought: NOW THE LEFT WANTS TO GET RID OF OUR SYMBOL OF FREEDOM!!!!! How long before that’s up in rhe que?

David Millikan
David Millikan
26 days ago

Excellent article on American History and God Bless the United States of America.

Richard
Richard
26 days ago

Nice article Charles. These patriotic reminders help us all. I am making copies for each of my grandchildren and forwarding to them. Through their families I know they are good citizens but I hope (and know) when they get their copy they know that if it was something their grandaddy felt import enough to do, then it will be important enough for them to pay attention to.

Georgia
Georgia
27 days ago

I always enjoy articles by Mr Charles. He writes so well about every thing!

Kathleen
Kathleen
26 days ago

Thank you R.B.Charles! So true and encouraging. I always enjoy your writing. May God bless you and may He rescue America.

Gerald Carr
Gerald Carr
27 days ago

Come on people. The time lapse is more like 250 years; not 150 years.

Barb
Barb
27 days ago

Interesting article I enjoyed reading, Mr. Charles.

Howard
Howard
26 days ago

Except for the time lapse error, which could have been a typo, the article was, as always, excellent!

anna hubert
anna hubert
26 days ago

Left is desperately trying to replace it with the chicken

Loretta
Loretta
25 days ago

Always amazed at how much our founding fathers got right, and choosing the bald eagle as our national symbol was among their best.

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
27 days ago

Lordy how time flies. LOL.

Max
Max
26 days ago

RBC, nice article. Being a history buff, the story was not new. I do love the Bald Eagle and my wife and I sometimes see one in the Springfield, OH area. There is a billboard on the northside of I-70 west, just inside Indiana, that we someimes see a couple of Bald Eagles. I know it maybe early, but just in case, have a wonderful Maine weekend.

Tettles
Tettles
26 days ago

The WORST country in the WORLD is EGYPT

Tettles
Tettles
26 days ago

Egypt is even more responsible for the Middle East mess than Hamas.

Tettles
Tettles
26 days ago

I would fully be for the United States invading Egypt.

Tettles
Tettles
26 days ago

Israel and Britain should also go after Egypt.

Susan Clark
Susan Clark
24 days ago

Excellent..is there a way to share this article?

cs erfus
cs erfus
26 days ago

that bald eagl has a higher iq than trump and biden and desantis and obama and the clintons combined

AMAC’s Medicare Advisory Service
The knowledge, guidance, and choices of coverage you’re looking for. The exceptional service you deserve.
The AMAC App on 3 different iPhone
Download the AMAC App
The AMAC App is the place to go for insightful news wherever you are and whenever you want.
USDA Flag
Sam Johnson, official 109th Congress photo
President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the inaugural convening of the White House Council
Biden Abandons Christians Abroad

Stay informed! Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter.

"*" indicates required fields

33
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Subscribe to AMAC Daily News and Games