Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Answer to Monday's Riddle! An Eagle May Soar, but...

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I'm with Ben- a big fan of the turkey  ~ F

Forget the Eagle, Ben Franklin told the people. For a thief cannot show the way; a coward too lazy to get his prey. He knew of another whose courage rang true; whose colors reflected the red, white, and blue. Though a bit silly and sometimes vain, it is a symbol of strength and honor just the same. Brave and loyal, brilliant and bold, representing truth and justice, is what he told.

What is the symbol for America Ben Franklin suggested instead of the Eagle? 
Answer: The Turkey

The Eagle, Ben Franklin, and the Turkey

A year and a half after the Great Seal was adopted by Congress on June 20, 1782 – with the bald 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; 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 Birdnot 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."


  1. I would never have guessed on my own or without the help of Google. But I did learn something new, which I love learning about history and symbolism. Thanks for the riddle and the answer. :-)

  2. Great riddle for this time of year!

    Happy Turkey Day!!(-8

  3. Glad everyone enjoyed the riddle! Happy Thankagiving!!


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