A Most Beautiful Lady

She is huge and green but also beautiful and she sailed into New York Harbor on June 17, 1885. Who is she? The Statue of Liberty and at the moment that she arrived she was dismantled and needed assistance to be put together. She was a gift of friendship from France to America. The Statue of Liberty sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in 350 individual pieces which had been packed in over 200 cases. Now at this point, I would have probably wanted to know two things one of them being if she came with full instructions and the second if the pieces were numbered.

I know my parents saw her as soon as they sailed into New York Harbor as immigrants in 1951. As a child, I had a vivid imagination and I thought how wonderful it would be if someone built a huge chair for Lady Liberty so that she could sit down when she got tired. I, of course, did not take it into mind that she was made of iron and couldn’t possibly sit down. She has been in a lot of movies but I love the special effects that were done in “Ghostbusters II” when they got her to walk in the streets of Manhattan using very special movie technology. 

This statue which was made of copper and iron was then reassembled and dedicated the following year. The ceremony was dedicated by the 22nd U.S. President Grover Cleveland and the Statue of Liberty became a symbol of freedom and democracy. She was the first thing that weary immigrants would see entering New York Harbor. The lovely lady was designed by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. He actually modeled the statue after his own mother and was assisted by engineer Gustave Eiffel. The statue cost the French around $250,000 which today would be over $5.5 million.

The statue shows a robed female figure with an uplifted arm holding a torch and she weighs 450,000 pounds. She became green as time passed and the copper went through a natural color-change process known as patination. The Statue of Liberty stands on Bedloe Island later renamed Liberty Island. Nearby is Ellis Island through which over 12 million immigrants arrived in the New World witnessed by the lovely lady. In 1903 a plaque was placed on the statue’s pedestal inscribed with a sonnet “The New Colossus” written by American poet Emma Lazarus. Visitors can read her famous words that include “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.

Then after 60 years, the 30th U.S. President Calvin Coolidge made the Statue of Liberty a national monument in 1924. At this time the statue underwent a big restoration and the lady received a new torch and a gold-leaf covered flame. She was rededicated on July 4, 1986, by the 40th U.S. President Ronald Reagan. The statue was closed after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and later its base, pedestal and observation deck reopened in 2004. The crown was re-opened to the public on July 4, 2009. Her torch remains closed. The statue has become one of America’s most famous landmarks and has been the site of rallies and protests and has been featured in movies and photographed many times.


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