By Dave Hanks

Uhuru in Swahili means freedom. In the 1960’s, the Kenyans were seeking their freedom from their British rulers. Not having experienced freedom, they did not know what it was like. They thought that immediately upon receiving it, they would have everything that their British overlords had – wealth, large houses and estates, servants, and big cars. They did not understand that it took hard work and an education to get these, and then only a few did. They also thought that freedom meant that you could do anything that you wanted to. In order for freedom to survive, certain rules and regulations and work ethics must be maintained. There is a French saying that states; “Freedom is a luxury of the self-disciplined.”

Once, my wife and I were in the Seward Harbor in Alaska. We were going on a boat trip to see the glaciers and wildlife in the bay. There on a pylon was the sickest looking Bald Eagle we had ever seen. The captain said that he was called “Hang-Over-Charlie”. He had lost his freedom all on his own. He had not used the “rules and regulations” necessary to maintain his wildness. He had become habituated to people and lived on the garbage in the harbor. Our boat went right by him, and he never flew.

To remain a regular, free living eagle, Charlie needed to respond in the way his DNA directed him – which is to hunt his own food, nest in high places, wing high above the earth, and meet all natural challenges – a fearless entity. These are the traits that caused us to embrace the Bald Eagle as our national symbol. Charlie diminished this symbolic role by his lazy, living on handouts, life style.

I’m very grateful for the freedoms I enjoy. I’m especially grateful to live here in the west where we have a lot more space and seem to enjoy more freedoms.

(A non-habituated eagle getting his food as nature intended)