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      "Patriot" gets his wings back

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- A symbol of the United States released back into it's natural habitat.

      Riverbanks Zoo and Garden and the Carolina Raptor Center of Charlotte, partnered to release a previously injured bald eagle back into the wild.

      The eagle, named "Patriot," was brought to Riverbanks this past summer with a foot injury and a number of soft tissue wounds.

      The bird which is believed to be a male, was transferred to the Carolina Raptor Center in Charlotte after several weeks of medical care at the Zoo, where it underwent surgery to remove one of its toes and repair damaged feathers.

      "One of the things we decided today, in honor of Veterans Day, the appropriate name for this bird would be "Patriot," said Jim Warren, Executive Director of the Carolina Raptor Center.

      "When he came to Riverbanks he was pretty well beat up with a series of puncture wounds, which we're pretty sure happened because of a fight with another bald eagle," said Warren.

      "Patriot" also delivered a special moment for one proud parent and her kids.

      "I kept it a secret all weekend. The excitement, they just about couldn't stand it," said Kathy Rogers who kept the eagle release a secret from her children who got out of school early to witness the event.

      It was also a moment to reflect on Veterans lives in her own family.

      "It actually reminded me of my dad. This bird was nursed back to health and set free. When my dad passed away I felt like he was set free," Rogers said.

      After six months of being away from home, "Patriot" finally got to take flight again.