Our Vain Tom Turkey

Our Vain Tom Turkey Photo
"For the Truth," Ben Franklin wrote to his daughter in 1784, "the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America... He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage."

Thus Franklin expressed his lonely support for the turkey as our national symbol over the bald eagle, a species he perceived as lazy and of "bad moral character." But Washington, Adams, and others prevailed, and the lazy bald eagle endures as our National Symbol. It should be noted for the record that a 1786 painting of our symbol now hanging in St. Paul's Chapel, New York City, over Washington's pew, looks vaguely turkey-like in an eagle pose. Read Steve Zack's blog on the Huffington Post to learn more about turkeys >>
Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

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