U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today celebrated the first American Eagle Day by praising the recovery of the bald eagle and emphasizing the importance of learning about the history of our national symbol.
Alexander was the author of the resolution designating June 20, 2007 as American Eagle Day, which was approved by the Senate on April 30th. Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) was the lead Democratic cosponsor of the resolution.
“This first American Eagle Day provides a good opportunity to commemorate and recognize the great recovery story of the bald eagle, which rebounded in the lower 48 States from only 417 nesting pairs in 1963 to almost 8,000 nesting pairs in 2006,” Alexander said. “Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is expected to officially delist the bald eagle from both the ‘endangered’ and ‘threatened’ species lists under the Endangered Species Act. Thanks to conservation and education groups like the American Eagle Foundation – based in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee – we can recognize this success and continue to learn and celebrate the American ideals the eagle stands for.”
In addition to designating June 20, 2007 as American Eagle Day and celebrating “the recovery and restoration of the American bald eagle, the national symbol of the United States,” the Alexander resolution (S. Res. 146) encourages educational entities, businesses, conservation groups, government agencies and others to collaborate on information about bald eagles for use in schools. It also encourages the American people to observe American Eagle Day with appropriate ceremonies and other activities.
The Senate acted after receiving letters of support for the legislation from the American Eagle Foundation, former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker (R-TN), Dolly Parton, Porter Waggoner, Jack Hanna and others.
Alexander also authored the American Bald Eagle Recovery and National Emblem Commemorative Coin Act, which authorized the U.S. Mint to create a special commemorative coin that financially supports efforts to protect the American eagle. It was signed into law by President Bush in December 2004.
The bald eagle was selected as America’s national symbol on June 20, 1782 during the Second Continental Congress. It has been protected under federal law since Congress passed the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act in 1940. Even if delisted under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, bald eagles will continue to be protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.