Challenger Visits Capitol Hill
On April 27th, Challenger the Bald Eagle and the American Eagle Foundation team traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in an educational presentation given by Joe Santiago. Joe is a wildlife biologist and a raptor rehabilitation specialist with the U.S. Forest Service’s International Programs. She cares for several birds of prey in rural West Virginia, including one of the AEF’s Bald Eagles named Freedom! With her compelling and engaging personality, she captivates her audiences with entertaining and educational information about birds of prey! She does a great job representing the NFS & AEF.
While in DC, the American Eagle Foundation took the opportunity to campaign for American Eagle Day! We visited the new Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, our own Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, and other various USDA offices.
American Eagle Day Efforts
The AEF established American Eagle Day on June 20th, 1995, when it was first recognized by President Clinton and Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist. Then in 2007, the House and the Senate began issuing individual congressional American Eagle Day resolutions. Ideally, these annual Simple Resolutions would eventually become a Joint Resolution, making American Eagle Day an official, annually-renewing national day by adding it to “36 U.S. Code Chapter 1 – PATRIOTIC AND NATIONAL OBSERVANCES.” However, in 2011, the House put a ban on all commemorative resolutions (no matter the cause or importance) and have not been able to issue one ever since.
Despite this obstacle, this special day has been growing in importance and popularity! The Senate still issues annual American Eagle Day resolutions. Additionally, the AEF contacts all 50 U.S. Governors each and every year to request he or she proclaim American Eagle Day in their state. So far, over 200 proclamations have been issued from 49 states (48 in 2016, with California and Alaska as the only non-participatory states).
It is still the desire of the AEF to make American Eagle Day official, once and for all! Due to the House ban on commemorative resolutions, the only realistic way to do this is to go straight the President himself and have him issue an executive order Adding American Eagle Day to 36 U.S. Code Chapter 1 – PATRIOTIC AND NATIONAL OBSERVANCES. Visiting Ryan Zinke and requesting that he help us with American Eagle Day could be a very influential first step to making this happen.
We continue to work closely with Senator Alexander, who sponsors the American Eagle Day resolution in the Senate every year!
Our Tennessee House Representative Phil Roe faithfully recognizes American Eagle Day each year on the House floor around June 20th, despite his inability to change House Rules banning Commemorative resolutions.