Florida Eaglet Released in Tennessee to Honor Fallen Army Ranger
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The American Eagle Foundation (www.eagles.org) released a 14-week-old Bald Eaglet into the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains Sunday afternoon (4-17-2011) to honor U.S. Army Ranger Cpl.Ryan C. McGhee who was given the Purple Heart, Bronze Star (with V-Device) and other awards for helping save the lives of two of his fellow soldier in Iraq when they were pinned down by enemy gunfire. The majestic young eagle had previously been hatched and raised in Tennessee by AEF staff from an egg rescued from a stadium lighting tower nest in Sarasota, Florida.
“We are always happy to honor our soldiers and veterans who so bravely and unselfishly defend our nation’s precious freedoms and the rights of others,” said AEF founder/president Al Louis Cecere.
Ryan was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, GA and gave his life for all of us on May 13, 2009 from wounds sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces while conducting combat operations in Tikrit, Iraq.
The AEF allowed Ryan’s mother, Sherrie McGhee, to name the eaglet in honor of her hero son, calling the eaglet ‘Ranger.’
There were two Gold Star Mothers’ present for the release, as well as Cpl. Ryan’s family and other guests. A special tribute ceremony preceded the release of the bird, which included a prayer given by AEF president Al Cecere, a song performed by entertainer/songwriter James Rogers, and a bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace performed by Garret Barnett.
The AEF is a non-profit conservation group that annually releases captive-hatched bald eaglets in East Tennessee to help repopulate the National Bird.
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