Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Meet the Golden Eagle of Belleau Wood

Americans should all be proud to know that one of France's eagles guards our Aisne-Marne Cemetery at Belleau Wood. With my 2013 group I was pleased to meet with him one quiet Sunday afternoon. Here he is. I'm sorry, however, to say I've forgotten his name over the years. Nevertheless, he was most impressive, and I did pick up some interesting facts about his duties.

Mr. Eagle was not pleased with the loudness of my voices and let me know about it.  I assure you it was a most bracing and memorable encounter.

His area of responsibility covers both the mile-squire wood on the plateau above the cemetery and the cemetery itself.  He flies patrols here about one per month.

The objective of Mr. Eagle's sorties is to protect the beautiful crosses on each grave.  Bird droppings have a terrible effect on the Carrara marble. (I'll leave those details to your imagination.) The assistant superintendent who accompanied us that day proudly reported that when Mr. Eagle flew one of his missions all the other birds fled the forest, the cemetery, and the entire neighborhood for weeks, apparently spreading the word wide within the avian community of northern France.

The Golden Eagle of Belleau Wood and His Handler


  1. Great story and a magnificent eagle!

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