U.S. Senate Passes “American Eagle Day”
PIGEON FORGE, TN, May 1, 2007 – The not-for-profit American Eagle Foundation announced today that the U.S. Senate unanimously approved (at 8:03 p.m.) a special resolution naming June 20, 2007 “American Eagle Day.”
The bill had been introduced on April 13, 2007 by U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Robert Byrd (D-WV), and was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week .
In addition to establishing American Eagle Day, the resolution (S. Res.146) celebrates the recovery and restoration of the American Bald Eagle, the national symbol of the United States, as well as the American traditions and ideals for which it stands.
“We’re glad the Senate recognizes the importance of protecting this precious national treasure for generations to come and celebrating the successful recovery of America’s eagles from the brink of extinction”, said AEF President Al Cecere. “This great accomplishment resulted from caring individuals, agencies, elected representatives and companies working cooperatively together toward a heart-felt common goal.”
The Bald Eagle was selected as America’s national symbol on June 20, 1782 during the Second Continental Congress, and is scheduled to be removed from the Endangered Species Act around June 20th of this year. It has been protected under federal law since Congress passed the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act in 1940 and this protection was reinforced by the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
The Senate acted at the request of the American Eagle Foundation (AEF) and after receiving letters of support for the legislation from former Tennessee Senator Howard Baker (R-TN), Dolly Parton, Porter Wagoner, Jack Hanna, elementary school children and wildlife/fraternal organizations.
The resolution encourages educational entities, businesses, conservation groups, private land owners, government agencies and others to collaborate on information about Bald Eagles for use in schools and encourages the American people to observe American Eagle Day with appropriate ceremonies and other activities.
“Now there’s finally a special day set aside for all Americans to recognize the amazing comeback of these stately birds to our nation’s lands, waterways and skies, as well as the freedom and democracy they’ve so majestically symbolized for the past 225 years”, said Cecere.
Challenger and his handler Al Cecere – President and CEO of the American Eagle Foundation headquartered at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN – joined Senator Alexander, Senator Byrd and others at a press conference at the United States Capitol this April to introduce the American Eagle Day Resolution.
Challenger had also joined several senators at the Capitol three years ago (2004) to introduce Alexander’s American Bald Eagle Recovery and National Emblem Commemorative Coin Act, which Senator Byrd was a cosponsor of. That legislation – which was initiated and supported by the not-for-profit American Eagle Foundation – authorized the U.S. Mint to create a special commemorative eagle coin set that will financially support future efforts to protect the American eagle. It was signed into law by President Bush in December of 2004. The coins will be sold by the U.S. Mint throughout 2008.
Other Senate cosponsors of the American Eagle Day Resolution include Senators Bob Corker (R-TN), Edward Kennedy (D-MA),Wayne Allard (R-CO), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Arlen Specter (R-PA).
A similar resolution was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 26, 2007 by various TN delegation representatives (Congressmen Davis, Duncan and Tanner) at the American Eagle Foundation’s request, which is expected to soon pass unanimously.