American Eagle Day is June 20
On June 20, 1782, the Bald Eagle was added to the Great Seal of the United States. It is depicted holding an olive branch and 13 arrows, symbolizing the desire for peace, American war-readiness, and unity (13 referring to the original 13 colonies/states).
In addition to inclusion in the Great Seal of the United States, bald eagles also hold great significance in many cultures that are indigenous to North America. In borrowing from the signals of those cultures, we imbue bald eagles with freedom, strength, honesty, wisdom, and power.
Conserving Our National Bird
By the mid-1900s human activity had nearly wiped bald eagles from the continent. Pesticides, habitat destruction, and illegal hunting had stricken the population to just over 400 pairs (bald eagles mate for life).
In an effort to save the eagles, some pesticides were banned, and human activities became more strictly regulated. To extend these actions President Reagan and Congress declared an early version of American Eagle Day in 1982. That effort was further cemented by President Clinton, who issued a highly-publicized formal document to the American Eagle Foundation in 1995 (transcript below).
Bald eagles are exclusive to the North American continent, and are typically found within a couple miles of oceans and major waterways. Today, estimates place the number of bald eagles in the range of 315,000 - 320,000 individual birds.
President Bill Clinton's 1995 Letter Reads as Follows:
The White House
June 20, 1995
Greetings to all those celebrating the 213th anniversary of the designation of the bald eagle as the national symbol of the United States of America.
Courageous, strong, and free, this magnificent bird is a cherished symbol of all that is great about America. But the bald eagle is more than a symbol - - it is a reflection of our commitment to preserve and pass on to our children the precious natural gifts with which our nation has been blessed.
By 1963, after decades of habitat destruction and excessive hunting, the bald eagle population in our lower 48 states had fallen to only about 417 nesting pairs. Yet thanks to the determined and tireless efforts of federal and state wildlife agencies, conservation and industrial groups, scientists, and private citizens, more than 4,000 pairs of adult bald eagles and perhaps as many as 5,000 juveniles now flourish in this same area. And the Alaskan population of bald eagles remains healthy and safe.
As Americans join in commemorating this special anniversary, we can take pride in the continuing recovery of the bald eagle. Let us renew our dedication to protecting this irreplaceable national treasure.
Send us your pictures of American Eagles (bald eagles), American flags, flagpoles, ropes, or other accessories! We would be honored to feature your photography in our blog or on Facebook. Remember, photos of damaged flags and accessories are valuable, too.
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Have a great day, from your friends at LIBERTY FLAGS, The American Wave®.