Friday, October 28, 2016

Statue of Liberty 130th Anniversary

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognized symbols of the United States. 
What does she mean to you?

Her resume:
 Named Liberty "Enlightening the World" a gift from France
U.S. National Monument 1924
U.S. National Register of Historic Places 1966
New Jersey Register of Historic Places 1971
New York City Landmark 1976
UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984

Imagine our ancestors arriving in the New York Harbor and seeing her for the first time.
What excitement! What hope! What freedom! Give me liberty!

 "The New Colossus"
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.

Emma Lazarus refers to the statue as 'the Mother of Exile" in her poem.

In 1876 the hand holding the torch arrived in America and was displayed 
at the Centennial in Philadelphia. 
In 1877 it was moved to Madison Square in New York and stayed there until 1882.

The head was exhibited at the Paris World's Fair in 1878. The face is said to be that of 
Charlotte Bartholdi, mother of the artist, Frederic August Bartholdi

There are 25 windows running the length of Lady Liberty’s crown, which is topped by seven rays, meant to convey both the light of the sun and the seven seas and continents of the world.  Here is a view out one of those windows, you can see the arm and a point on one of the rays.

Originally it was meant to be a lighthouse, but as big as she was it was dimly lit. Had a woman designed it, she would have been bright, just saying. Only dignitaries were allowed on the island during the dedication, I also read,that only two women were permitted, Bartholdi's wife and Ferdinand de Lesseps' granddaughter. There was a supposed fear women would be trampled by the crowd, this infuriated suffragists, so they rented a boat and got as close as they could. Leaders made speeches applauding that Liberty was portrayed as a women and used the opportunity to promote a women's right to vote.


The eleven pointed walls at the base that the pedestal sits on are part of the original Fort Hood. If you have ever seen an aerial shot it is shaped like a star.  It was preserved and the pedestal and the statue in turn were built upon it.

The photograph was taken in 2000 and you will notice the Twin Towers standing tall in the background. The following year the next class in line did not get to take this field trip. Someone messed with their liberty and our freedom on September 11th. That is something I will never forget, neither will anyone alive that day. We can't let that define us or take away our freedom.To me that only means to the  victor belongs the spoils. I want to feel as safe in this country as anyone else. Maybe that is the cost of freedom but I don't think it should be.

The 1984 reconditioned torch is made of 24K Gold Leaf.

was officially dedicated October 28, 1886 while 
President Grover Cleveland was in office.

Happy 130th Birthday Lady Liberty
Long May You Shine
and continue to be
that beacon of hope. 

Here is a list of other important people that were involved

Inspired by Edouard Rene de Laboulaye (French)
Designed by french sculptor Frederic August Bartholdi. (French)
Charlotte Bartholdi, mother of the artist inspired the final face of the statue. (French)
The bones (framework) built by Gustave Eiffel (French) designer of the Eiffel Tower, he also drew up plans for the Panama Canal (worth a read).
Architect Richard Morris Hunt (educated in France, designed the pedestal (American) one of the founders of AIA and designer of the Great Hall, Grand Staircase and the Fifth Avenue Facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, many mansions of the old money families in New York and also the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, the largest privately owned house in the United States, still owned by a Vanderbilt family member.
Joseph Pulitzer helped raise money to finished American part of the project. Joseph Pulitzer also famed for leaving money in his will to establish the Pulitzer Prize.
President Grover Cleveland presided over the dedication.
Bartholdi had the honor of unveiling.
Edouard Rene de Laboulaye who inspired the project passed away before the dedication and his vision was in place. I also read he was an honorary member of the Union League in Philadelphia but I only found that at one source, I like to see it in two places to fact check.

Get on board, this country was built on the backs of  working men and women, regardless of religion or race. Full steam ahead, there are flaws in every person, every family but it doesn't mean we are not great when we work together.

Happy Birthday Lady Liberty and thank you for the reminder of who we are.

Měiguó rén, 
Gli Americani,
and everything in between.

My paternal grandmother as a young girl of 16 was one of the immigrants that saw hope in the statue's eyes. I might still be in Ireland had she not, although Ireland is a beautiful country too. My paternal grandfather's people can be traced back to Jamestown, the English. It is incredible how far we have come and still have such a long way to go.

 The above photograph was taken in 1976, although the quality is not that good, it made a profound impression on me. (Of note this would have been before the renovations of 1984, so it is the original arm and Eiffel's other tower would have been inside, so in a small way adds to the value of this photograph to me.)We did not get up close and personal with the statue that day but what bothered me was the trash, There it was a view, my first glimpse of this beautiful symbol of the United States and someone trashed it. Littering was a big campaign back in those days and I never dropped a piece of litter again. When I see someone else do it, I will say loud enough for them to hear it, I'll get it. People do things unconsciously all the time, surely a little mindfulness doesn't hurt. Don't trash your country and try to help remind those that do, it only makes us look trashy to the outside world. We should all care about that.

 This is a photograph of the stairs up to crown. I remember it being a difficult climb but I am glad I took it. It is only open on a limited daily basis now and you need special tickets ahead of time.

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