The Challenges of Life (In Memory of Harriet the Bald Eagle)

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.18.58 AMToday’s life lesson is inspired by Harriet the Bald Eagle who will long be remembered as an inspiration for overcoming adversity.


Who Was Harriet?

A brief version of her story is this…Harriet was a bald eagle born in 1981; at birth she should have died because pesticides caused her eggshell to be too thin, but she survived with the help of a wildlife biologist named Ron Eckstein who not only saved her life but also tagged her leg for tracking (because at the time bald eagles were an endangered species). Harriet overcome the challenge of her birth and for 19 years soared over the skies of the Wisconsin area – until the year 2000 when she was hit by a car and left for dead. A call for help brought a wildlife expert to the scene – the same Ron Eckstein! – who managed to save Harriet’s life. Unfortunately Harriet suffered injuries to her head (which caused her to look a bit odd) and worse yet required her left wing to be amputated – meaning she’d never fly again. Yet once again, with the help of friends, Harriet overcame the challenges of her life. After she recovered, she was given the opportunity to interact with wounded warriors and other disabled people – she thrived in this role and there are countless tales that testify to the impact that Harriet’s visits had. Over time Harriet travelled throughout the US spreading her message of hope. Eventually a National Eagle Center was created in Minnesota, Harriet’s image was put on a “Support Our Troops” license plate, and all the extra attention to bald eagles helped to bring them back from the brink of extinction and help them thrive again. Yesterday, at the grand age of 35, Harriet died. She lived a challenging life for sure. And yet in spite of her adversity, Harriet lived a life of substance and Harriet changed lives, in a way that should be an inspiration for us all.


If you’d like to know more about Harriet, check out this Washington Post article.


Harriet is Flying Again in Heaven

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with this: “Man’s fate is like that of the animals…all go to the same place…who knows if the spirit of man rises up and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” (Eccl 3:18-21)


Personally I believe that Harriet is now in heaven, enjoying a peaceful existence, with many of the other furry friends who’ve inspired me over the years.

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