A metal eagle on your neighbor's house may not be just for decor.

Eagles are a staple of the Quad Cities. They're everywhere along the Mississippi River in the winter and really, seeing them fly around the dam is my favorite part of the whole snowy season. They're a beautiful American symbol and are often featured in plaques and art.

But there's a special meaning they often have too.

Budget Mailbox
Budget Mailbox

If you or someone close to you is a veteran, there's a good chance something on the outside or inside of their homes reflect their patriotism and service. That could be one reason for an eagle emblem on the house. But according to The Hill, there's another tradition.

They're "Freedom Flyers"

All the way back in 1944, the G.I. Bill was signed, which helped vets get money for college, unemployment insurance, and housing. The Department of Defense says that within about 10 years of the bill going into place, 4.3 million home loans had been granted and 20% of all homes built post-World War II were purchased by vets.

The tradition became that, as Americans would pay off those loans and their homes, they would hang an eagle plaque above their front doors or garages to signify that they're debt-free.

The Hill found that many homes in Illinois and Iowa are "eagle-eligible". 38% in Illinois are and 40.1% in Iowa are mortgage-free. If you want to be patriotic and proud of the debt-free life, you can still find these metal eagle plaques across the internet. I found a few on Amazon and Walmart.

Also, for the record, the average price of a house in 1955 was $22,000. Good times.

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