Statue of Liberty
One of the most recognizable images in the world, her full name is “Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World”. She was a gift to the United States from France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of our independence. Edouard de Laboulaye originated the idea as a way to honor freedom and democracy in America, hoping that this might also help the push for democracy in France. Auguste Bartholdi designed the statue, with the help of Alexandre-Gustav Eiffel, who designed the interior support and framing. French citizens paid for the cost of the statue, while Americans raised funds to pay for the pedestal.
Lady Liberty was constructed in France, then disassembled to make the voyage across the Atlantic to her new home on Liberty Island (then reassembled… I feel like that should be implied). Due to her permanent location, she was often the first thing millions of immigrants to America saw upon arrival. She became a symbol not only of freedom and democracy, but of opportunity and hope for a better life.
This poem by Emma Lazarus is engraved in bronze in the pedestal of the statue. I read it there in it’s entirety for the first time and was truly touched. I leave you with this…
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Have you taken the tour of the Statue of Liberty? What was your favorite part?