Sunday, January 29, 2012

Benjamin Franklin's Eagle vs The Turkey

On twitter I usually try to post a historical fact that took place in history, from each date on the calendar. I found quite interesting that on January 26, 1784,  Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter lamenting the fact that the eagle was chosen to be the animal symbol of America. He put forth that the eagle is a bird, of bad moral character and that it doesn't get it's living honestly. Ben said you can see the eagle sitting on dead trees, too lazy to fish for itself and waits for other, more laborious birds to go make their catch but the eagle then flies over  and steals their prize.   Franklin went so far as to say it was a frank coward for even when a little King Bird no bigger then a sparrow decides to attack him, away flies the eagle. I guess he thought the eagle gave the appearance of being grandiose but for the most part it was merely show. 

What bird would he have chose to represent America? Apparently he thought the turkey. The turkey he stated was, a much more of a  respectable bird and was more of a true native of America. He acknowledged it was a little vain and silly but it did however have great courage which wouldn't hesitate to attack a British guard wearing a red coat. Ben may not have known but turkeys as well apparently have a great field of vision of around 270 degrees. Try to sneak up on one and you'll find they've got all bases covered. Franklin's words, about his love for the turkey have reminded me of something I've wondered  numerous times. Americans celebrate thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November and it seems to me they make a great deal more of the day than their Canadian neighbours to the north. 

Being a Canadian myself we celebrate it on the second Monday of October. We enjoy it and partake of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, turkey being the first choice, but not so much, in my opinion, is made of the day as when comparing it to the Americans. American Thanksgiving Day celebrations are pretty significant and the turkey seems to be the centre point of  which the day revolves. It's estimated that 45 million turkeys are cooked, and eatin on that one day alone. Yes Americans like turkeys! Were they wise however to stay with the bold eagle as their national symbol?  I believe so.   I'm sure it was chosen for it's ability to soar up high into the heavens and one could hardly envision the turkey doing the same. 

We can recall as well that "Eagle" was the name given to the Apollo 11 lunar module, which was the first manned ship to land on the moon. While Ben in his day might have thought the turkey as a great national representative, I'm not quite so sure. It would probably of had to hitch a ride with the soaring eagle to achieve the great heights. If Ben knew that America would some day go to the moon he'd probably would have agreed a turkey's place should only be for floats in parades and to be left for America's dinner table.

Perhaps you might like my Youtube, audio story, "Checkered Flag Moon"?  If so here's the link below,

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