American Eagle was the target of an assassination attempt supposidly orchestrated by Sebastian Maximillian. He was shot in the head, but Princess was able to bring him back to life.
American Eagle has been pretending to be dead since the incident, to try and lure the instigator into action. He dislikes the ruse.
William Jordan sat his son Aeneas on his lap. The boy, earlier that day, had gotten into a fight with an older boy at school. The fight started over the older boy taunting Aeneas for being poor. William, putting an ice pack on his son’s badly swollen left eye, smiled at the boy and said words that he wouldn’t remember until later in his life.
“Son,” he said “Our people came to this country in chains, as slaves; but today, because of the sacrifice of others no richer or smarter than us, we’re free to pursue our dreams.” “It doesn’t much matter where you start out. What’s important is how you finish.” “That boy thinks he’s better than you because of what he has, but what a man has can be taken away, it can be lost, or stolen. What can’t be taken away is the impact of what a man does. Do what’s right and you’ll leave a legacy worth more than all the money in the world can buy you.”
It was then that William pulled out his most prized possession, the first Medal of Honor won by a black man.
“You see this medal.” William pulled the medal from an old wooden box and placed it in his son’s small hands. “This was won by your Great Grand Pappy, William Harvey Carney a long time ago during the Civil War.” “He was a slave, grew up in Virginia, had nothing, but it was his actions that made him a man who people still honor today.”
But Aeneas didn’t hear his father’s words not now, not yet. He wanted what the other kids had. Their dads had wealth, influence, power, and status. His dad was janitor and in Aeneas’ mind a failure. He wanted more and his drive coupled with his budding genius would soon garner him everything he thought he desired.
By the time Aeneas was 19 he had made his first million. By 21 he had founded Ilium, a company that specialized in robotics and AI interface technologies. Shortly thereafter he began designing and manufacturing smart weapons and robotic drones for the United States Military. Those contracts would make him, at the age of 25, the 3rd richest man in America. It was at the height of his power and success that he received word that his dad had died.
Aeneas hadn’t talked to the old man in years. His dad had simply been too ‘small’ for his world. He attended the funeral, gathered his dad’s meager possessions, and head back home to the life he had created; the life he deserved. However, something wasn’t right and try as hard as he might, he couldn’t find joy within the life he had made.
He began looking through his dad’s belongings. There were several pictures of His dad and his mother Claire. They showed the two of them; on some beach, at an amusement park, and the even the Grand Canyon. One was of Claire standing proudly in the room she and William had just painted. The back of the photo read: Nursery 1988. A year later, Claire would succumb to bone cancer, two weeks shy of her 30th birthday.
He leafed through some of the letters his parents had written to one another over the years and as he was going through them a small note, written on hospital stationary, fell from the stack and on to his desk. The handwriting on the note was unsteady and it appeared to be stained by tears. It read:
I know we don’t have much time left together and the thought of being separated from you is more than I think I will be able to bear. But I promise you that I will do whatever it takes, make whatever sacrifice necessary to raise our son to be a man that you will be proud of.
I love you.
Tears began to roll down Aeneas’ face. He felt ashamed for ever thinking that he dad was failure and that his life was small. His parents had sacrificed much so that he could be…what? It was at that moment his hand brushed against the old box that contained William Carney’s medal. He opened the box and looked again on the heirloom. As he stared at the eagle embossed in the medal’s heart, the image of the bird, in his mind’s eye, seemed to radiate light and take flight. His father’s words came flooding back to him. “Be the man you were meant to be. Leave a legacy that will endure in others.” On that night, American Eagle was born.