Happy Fourth of July! I love to photograph Bald Eagles, our nation’s symbol of strength and freedom for 240 years. The Bald Eagle is an apt choice but it didn’t just happen. The Continental Congress tasked Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams with designing an official seal for the United States shortly after the Declaration of Independence was signed. However, they failed to get Congressional approval for their design and two subsequent committees were unsuccessful as well. In 1782, and as yet with no approved official seal, the work of all three committees was given to Charles Thomson, the secretary of Congress, to finish the job. He took the best parts of each of the designs and substituted the Bald Eagle for another type of eagle the third committee had suggested. He created what we know as the Great Seal. Watching Bald Eagles soar effortlessly through the skies over Kachemak Bay in Homer, Alaska and seeing them dive to the water’s surface to grab a fish and soar up again, it is clear that using the Bald Eagle as our nation’s emblem was the perfect choice. To quote John F. Kennedy, “The Founding Fathers made an appropriate choice when they selected the bald eagle as the emblem of the nation. The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolizes the strength and freedom of America.” Only it wasn’t really the Founding Fathers who selected the Bald Eagle. Interesting that it came down to one man few have ever heard of to make it happen. What is it they say about accomplishing anything with a committee?