On June 20, 1782, the bald eagle was declared the American Eagle, the heraldic animal of the United States of America.
The bald eagle - the largest bird of prey in North America - embodies boldness, courage, and strength. Native Americans worship it as a holy animal; with it they create a union with eternity. The olive branch in the right claw of the eagle symbolizes a readiness for comprehensive peace among states and peoples; the proud head looking to the left underscores this exceptional virtue of the American people. The bundle of sticks in the left claw of the eagle shows the warning power and strength of the American nation to every attacker without further ado.
The number thirteen - also the number of the founding states of the union - on and around the eagle becomes a continuing symbol for the cohesion of the community of states. Thirteen pentagram-like stars shine within a hexagram, thirteen arrows, thirteen olive leaves, and thirteen fruits continue the symbolism and unite it with America’s special virtues. Thirteen stripes across the breast of the American Eagle build a bridge to the first flag of the United States of America. Thirteen letters in the motto “E Pluribus Unum” - one from many - summarize the meaning of all these symbols.
Thus, the American Eagle became a unique symbol for the special strength, the unique character, and the exceptional virtues of the grand American nation.