Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Friday, November 29, 2013

Turkey Day


One of our Founding Fathers, who's  inventive mind was always at work,  questioned  choice of the Bald Eagle as  our national symbol.
A year and a half after the Great Seal was adopted by Congress on June 20, 1782  – with the eagle
as its centerpiece – Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter and shared some thoughts about this new symbol of America. He did not express these personal musings elsewhere, but they have become legendary.
Writing from France on January 26, 1784 to his daughter Sally (Mrs. Sarah Bache) in Philadelphia, Franklin casts doubt on the propriety of using the Bald Eagle to symbolize the "brave and honest Cincinnati of America," a newly formed society of revolutionary war officers.

The society's insignia had a poorly drawn eagle that looked more like a turkey, which prompted Franklin's naturally inquisitive mind to compare and contrast the two birds as a symbol for the United States.

Franklin's Letter to His Daughter (excerpt)
"For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk (Osprey); and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

"With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country . . .

"I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."
Well, Franklins point is well taken, especially in regard  to the eagles right wingnut behavior visa vie the hardworking blue collar Osprey.  Still, as you can see in the photograph below, I remain a great fan of our magnificent looking National Symbol.....:)

 
 

19 comments:

  1. I think that the nature of the eagle is more representative of our country. After all, didn't we take it from the Native Americans? Plus, it would not be very patriotic to be eating our national bird!

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  2. Yes the Eagle is a magnificent creature ,an one that true to it's nature takes advantage of opportunities when they present themselves .

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  3. Perhaps that was our sub-conscious motive behind our dinner: Ducks, brined, smoked then baked with a brown, glistening skin. Delicious.

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  4. Happy Thanksgiving! I have to side with Ben Franklin on this one... then again the eagles behavior does describe some politicians nowadays:(

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  5. Hard for me to imagine the turkey as our national symbol.

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  6. If you haven't seen it and the opportunity presents itself, watch "My Life as a Turkey" on PBS. It is a rare and wonderful look at a man who was given turkey eggs, hatched them and stayed with them until they were adult turkeys.

    A grand story!

    Jo

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  7. Goodness, that original drawing does look a little pathetic. Franklin may have a point with them being more than a bit opportunistic, too. And that just brought some thoughts to mind that I won't say, because I'm fascinated with eagles and don't want to compare them to anything else. LOL!

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  8. Ben really did have some valid points. I have been attacked more than once by a Tom turkey and the wild ones are quite intelligent. They are feisty and fearless birds.
    Kind of late now however. We have all ready endowed the eagle with all sorts of noble attributes that he didn't have to earn.
    That said, I get chills when I see one.

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  9. Ha! This is actually pretty funny. I didn't know much about the turkey, but we sure wouldn't be eating eagles for Thanksgiving! I also think that the Bald Eagle has some bad habits, but I don't think he would agree. :-)

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  10. I am glad to hear this story. It is the first time for me hearing it and I did not know Ben had a wife and family. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. Eagles are amazing and majestic birds!

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  12. I have always loved the sight of a bald headed eagle. I do not see them often but when I do they stop me in my tracks. Glad they are our symbol! -- barbara

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  13. I love seeing an Eagle, especially the Bald Eagle. So regal.

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  14. Great story! :)
    We've had wild turkeys moving north - one of our boys ran into a dozen of them in the woods behind our house a month or so ago, and we hear them often. Strange - all my life, turkeys were never seen in these parts!

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  15. Hope you and your sweetie had a most wonderful Thanksgiving!
    xo Catherine

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  16. I had read the turkey as a national symbol and Ben Franklin had a good list of reasons why he thought it should be. I like the Bald Eagle in your excellent photo.

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  17. Yep, the eagle sure is representative of our nation. The wild turkey is more like (IMHO) the way we should behave.
    nice picture of the eagle, tho

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  18. Yep, the eagle sure is representative of our nation. The wild turkey is more like (IMHO) the way we should behave.
    nice picture of the eagle, tho

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