SEBRING — On Veterans Day, which is Sunday, Americans will reflect on all that we are blessed with through the sacrifice of our soldiers past and present. Whether it was World War II, the rice fields of Vietnam or in the sands of Afghanistan, we owe a debt that can never be repaid to our veterans for the continued freedom of our great nation.

A living symbol of that freedom is the bald eagle. This proud bird of prey represents America so well because of a multitude of reasons. The bald eagle was chosen in 1782 as the emblem for the United States of America because of its strength, independence, fierce beauty and majestic demeanor.

Highlands County is blessed to have an eagle that represents all of these qualities right here. Her name is Thunder and she resides at Wrede’s Wildlife Center, a sanctuary for injured wildlife.

Thunder was found with bullets in her at a young age. Miraculously, she survived, and at 25 years old has surpassed the age most bald eagles reach in the wild. When Thunder attends Veterans Day events, it is incredible to watch the emotions she invokes whether it is a smile, a tear or a solemn salute.

This Veterans Day, Wrede’s Wildlife Center salutes America’s veterans. This nonprofit organization runs on donations from the community such as the eagle enclosure funded by Jeff Fennell and family. Come visit Thunder and the other rescued animals at Wrede’s Wildlife Center by appointment. Call 863-385-2770 for more information.


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