2012 25¢ Magenta
Issue Date: January 3, 2012
City: Liberty, MO
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: Die Cut 11
For centuries, the eagle has been a symbol of majesty and power. It is no wonder America’s founders chose the eagle as our national symbol.
About 5,000 years ago, the Sumerians portrayed an eagle in flight to show its power. The ancient Romans, Emperor Charlemagne, and Napoleon later followed suit.
An early morning battle at the start of the American Revolution woke sleeping eagles at their nearby nests. The eagles began circling the field and squawking. The patriots believed “They [were] shrieking for freedom.”
As the war raged on, the Americans sought a national symbol. For six years, the Continental Congress debated the possibilities. Finally, in 1782, one man submitted a drawing of an eagle, describing it as a symbol of “supreme power and authority.” By the end of the year, the eagle was part of the national seal. It was another five years before the eagle was officially adopted as the emblem of the United States.
Centuries ago, the eagle population numbered around 75,000. A combination of hunting and poison from insecticide saw their numbers drop to only about 800 in the 1960s, making it an Endangered Species. Several laws and conservation attempts have replenished the population. In 2007, the bald eagle was removed from the Endangered Species list and is now considered of least concern, a vast improvement in just 40 years.