Since we're discussing bald eagles, I might as well bring up the symbolically resonant case of Beauty--an injured eagle from Alaska that is being fitted with a prosthetic beak:

(Credit: AP)

Looking at the image, it's hard not to think of America's "wounded warriors"--the thousands of injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans that are fuelling a prosthetic body parts boom. In a hauntingly literal way, the eagle's disfigurement evokes that sacrifice; yet the eyes remain sharp, the posture upright and dignified.

Beauty doesn't maintain that dignity without help, though: she was husbanded back to health by a goup of Idaho volunteers, and she'll require care for the rest of her life. It's similarly inane to expect American troops to recover without adequate assistance--shocking numbers of them have  sacrificed their career opportunities, their marriages, and their mental health (not to mention lives) in ways that can severely prejudice reintegration into civilian society. Given those needs, Congress would do well to keep the broken-beaked eagle in mind as they decide whether or not to fund a new G.I. Bill.

--Barron YoungSmith