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The eagles were not part of the original design, but now it’s difficult to imagine the monument without them. Bald eagles are so emblematic of American history, and they immediately cue the visitor to the patriotic and presidential nature of the monument. Better still, the two birds are wonderfully tangible as they greet visitors who climb the steps from Franklin and Bagby. They are purposely placed at eye level, inviting people to touch them or pat their heads as they enter the monument plaza.

If visitors detect a glimmer of real personality in the eagles, all credit must go to “Nate”, a rescued eagle from the local raptor center, who kindly put up with the nuisance of modeling.

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