Eagles Will Help the Memories of Fallen Soldiers to Soar
November 8, 2008
Fallen war heroes receive all types of well-deserved honors, from medals to plaques to parades.
But now, eight Tennessee military have a new way to honor their lost loved ones’ legacies forever.
On Saturday morning, eight bald eagles at the American Eagle Foundation got new names. The military families picked them to honor their fallen sons.
“We don’t want anyone to ever forget, and so that’s our way of honoring our son,” said Bernice Koprince, who named her family’s eagle Honor.
Koprince’s son, Billy, was killed in action in December of 2006.
“Our whole future has changed because we lost our son,” she said. “We were expecting to get grandchildren and to build a business with him, and then, bam, all gone.”
Koprince’s father, William, said the family chose the name because of one of Billy’s choices in life.
When Billy was enlisting, William said “honor” was one of the words he chose to describe why he wanted to join.
Now, an eagle will carry on his legacy.
“He wouldn’t like it because it would bring attention to himself, which he hated, but he would think it was neat because it relates to him,” said Koprince’s sister, Megan Moore, of her brother’s love for the outdoors.
The eight eagles arrived at the American Eagle Foundation from the San Francisco Zoo in June of last year.
They’ve now been paired up for mating.
Each eaglet will be named for another fallen hero before it’s released into the wild in the Douglas Lake area.
“It’s a great honor, not only for the Eagle Foundation to be here in the Smoky Mountains, but for them to be releasing them within East Tennessee, an area of the country that (Billy) just loved so much,” William Koprince said of his son.
On top of the memories etched in their minds forever, the Koprinces now have one more way to make sure their son is never forgotten.
“We can have something to relate to, we can come back up here and see the babies that the eagles have and tell people our eagle’s name and tell them that we actually have more eagles because of our eagle,” Bernice Koprince said.
Here is a complete list of the eagles:
- Volunteer, named in honor of Army National Guardsman Joey Hunt
- Hero, named in honor of SFC. Stephen C. Kennedy
- Honor, named in honor of LCpl. William Koprince Jr.
- Brave Heart, named in honor of SFC. James D. Connell
- Faithful, named in honor of Cpl. Rusty Washam
- Peace, named in honor of Sgt. Alfred Siler
- Faithful Spirit, named in honor of Sgt. Daniel Morris
- Freedom, named in honor of Sgt. Paul Thomason