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Independence Day 2002: The bald eagle and the turkey



From the UK, John Heelan says "Please wish all U.S. WAISers happy and safe July 4th celebrations. (I am looking forward to attending such an event here in the UK this evening)". I am too old for parties; I just sit and meditate, I recall our debate about the national bird, the bald eagle rather than the turkey, which Ben Franklin prooted: not the Mexican, domesticated turkey we eat, but the wild American turkey with its glistening plumage. To honor July 4. the National Geographic of this month has a feature article on bald eagles, with a mean-looking specimen on the cover. The caption reads "Majesty in Motion". Indeed his Majesty has the imperious look of an absolute monarch, not a good republican. The article has more photographs with the same expression. His nest may reach 10 feet across and 20 feet deep. Quite a palace in comparison with the humble cottages where my favorite birds live. "Eagles just love to fight", the eagle being the symbol of Napoleon. The caption of a picture of three particularly nasty-looking eagles says "They are waiting for a handout from benefactor Jean Keene. For 23 years she has fed fish in winter, supplying up to 80,000 pounds because it gives them a helping hand when food is scarce". What about food for hungry children, Jean? Like so many bullies, bald eagles are essentially cowards. A series of photographs show one fighting with a dog-like small red fox, which scares him off. Good for you, fox! If it had caught you unawares, it might have seized you, taken you some place to die, and then eaten you. You symbolize the vigilance which we are exhorted to observe following 9/11. Recalling our eagle versus turkey debate, I think of certain WAISers. God rest ye merry, let nothing you dismay---not even a bald eagle.

Ronald Hilton - 7/4/02


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