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Bald eagle trapped in car grille inspires all of internet

The beautiful symbol of our nation is trapped in a bad situation not of its own making, and gee, some are making a current-events connection.

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Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper

Maybe it's the trapped-but-still-majestic look on its face. A photo of America's national bird caught in the grille of a car in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew appeared online Saturday, and the memes took off on eagle's wings.

Florida's Clay County Sheriff's Office posted numerous photos of the incident to its Facebook page. "A citizen had a bald eagle fly in front of his vehicle and the bird became lodged in the grill of the vehicle," the sheriff's department wrote alongside the photos. "Clay County Sheriff's Office and Clay Fire Rescue personnel responded and rescued the eagle from the grill. The bird is alive and was turned over to the B.E.A.K.S. Wildlife Sanctuary. Great Job by all involved."

The eagle's story had a happy ending, but its symbolic importance had the meme makers out in force on social media, finding plenty of metaphors about freedom and America's current political climate.

Some felt the eagle meme was just too uncomfortable.

But others found that, as Emily Dickinson wrote, "hope is the thing with feathers."

B.E.A.K.S., the bird sanctuary that helped out with the eagle, posted a video to Facebook saying the bird had been named "Matthew," and would be held for observation before being released.