October 15, 2010
A Symbol of Victory -- excerpts from Address by 'Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanurn at the World Congress, May 2, 1963
And then came the question of the eagle over Shoghi Effendi's grave. When he began to buy those eagles as ornaments for the gardens and put them up, and we asked him why, he said it was a symbol of victory, and that the Baha'is now all over the world were beginning to have their victories. . . . . That was why he wanted to have an eagle in the gardens. So, I thought, what greater place to put the symbol of victory than on top of Shoghi Effendi's column, on top of the globe of the world, with the continent of Africa -- which at the end of his life had already begun to show such promise and which had caused him so much joy -- facing out! And we thought, what eagle shall we use? And then I remembered that he had bought an eagle and had it in his room. And again the Japanese friends must be very happy: it was a Japanese eagle, made in Japan ... very, very beautiful.
As you have seen from visiting his monument, it has one wing folded and one wing out. It's very hard to tell: -- is the bird taking off, or is the bird alighting? So, one night I brought it down in Shoghi Effendi's home, and got someone to hold it up in the corner. Millie Collins and I looked at it and we thought, this is the perfect eagle for Shoghi Effendi's grave.
And that is the story of why the Memorial is built the way it is. (Baha’i News, August, 1963)