The Right-Winged Uncle Sam (Literally!)

June 17, 2007 at 1:29 pm (Church)

So, seeing as how it is Sunday, my family attended church this morning, as we are wont to do, being good Lutherans and all. The pooch kept my parents up all night, so they slept in a bit and as a result we ended up attending the contemporary service instead of the usual, traditional one. I won’t say too much about that particular part of our morning. Suffice to say, we agreed unanimously that no one was allowed to sleep in past the 8:30 service anymore!

There wasn’t a children’s service today, as Pastor told us there would be a small pre-4th-of-July celebration at the end of the service instead. I don’t think anyone thought much of it then.

So at the end of the service, the last hymn has been sung, and all of a sudden this triumphant, sort of processional music comes on the speakers. It sounded a bit like Star Wars to me, but that may have just been because I am a total geek like that. Anyway, we were all looking around, trying to figure out a) where the music was coming from (since we had a band sitting right there, but they didn’t seem to be touching their instruments) and b) what it was for. Then these two men came in carrying this huge table down the aisle with a large box-shaped thing at one end. It was all covered with a cloth (later, we were told that someone had been overheard in the first service wondering if it was the Ark of the Covenant, and I have to admit, the similarity certainly crossed my mind!).

They get up to the alter, set the table down, parallel to the pews, and the national anthem comes on. One of the men whips off the covering to reveal a large box/crate thing and a small platform on the other end of the table. The crate has a large American flag hanging from it. We all stood up in respect for the flag and the anthem. The man opened the door to the crate (for that’s what it was), and when nothing happened for a minute, he banged the side of the crate twice, presumably to let whatever was in there know that it could come out.

From the depths of the crate appears this gorgeous bald eagle. It flapped a bit when it first came out, then climbed onto its platform and actually faced the cross, at the head of the church, with the rest of the congregation. I must admit, at one point during all this, I felt like I was about to cry. It was amazing. Simply breathtaking.

After the national anthem ended, we all sat down and the man introduced himself and the eagle, whose name is Uncle Sam (original, no?). He was the brother of a woman in our congregation and was visiting for a short time. He goes around the country with about 20 different types of birds of prey from around the world.

He found Uncle Sam 16 years ago. Back then, Uncle Sam had been a voracious hunter and scavenger. He was busy enjoying a meal on a road somewhere when he was hit by a car. This guy found him and nursed him back to health, though Uncle Same lost most of his left wing, turning him into a conservative for the rest of his life (I crack myself up!). Now, he is the only bald eagle on tour allowed in all 50 states and will be on the Today show for the 5th time this coming 4th of July.

They got a call on September 12, 2001, to come down to New York, to Ground Zero for a photo op. The dust still had not settled, and the search for survivors was still going strong. Before this, Uncle Sam had not always been part of the show, but because of 9/11 and the strength and bravery they saw at Ground Zero, he has been a focal part of every show, dedicated to all the brave men and women who have served and are serving our country every day.

The man went on to discuss his personal faith as well as the faith of the founding fathers. He told us that we are the only country in the world built on the Scripture thanks to the faith of the founding fathers. He reeled off a few great quotes from our first few presidents as well as some other signers of the Declaration of Independence. One of the most memorable ones, for me, said something along the lines that our country was not built on religion, but on God’s Holy Word, nothing more, nothing less. I really must find some of those quotes he brought up, as most of them were wonderful.

In the end though, of course the attention was on Uncle Sam (obviously, as I can’t even remember his keeper’s name!). He is a beautiful bird, and I got a few pictures with my cell phone (after the service of course!), which I may upload later. In the end though, it was a magnificent experience which I hope to remember for a long time to come!

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1 Comment

  1. Britt said,

    You’re silly, and, when do we get to see pictures?

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